LOCAL fire crews rushed to Beardy Street around 5.30am on Friday after reports of a fire at the Armidale Club.
The blaze swept through the building, destroying parts of the roof and causing wide-spread chaos for surrounding residents with road closures between Taylor and Marsh Street for most of the morning.
Acting Inspector Wayne Zikan, from the Armidale Fire and Rescue Station said crews responded well.
“On arrival they found the fire was burning through the roof.
“We had two fire engines on there scene with 25 firefighters… they did a very good job under the conditions,” he said.
Acting Inspector Mark Pringle from the Armidale Police Station said the cause it yet to be determined but authorities are treating the incident as suspicious.
“At this stage police are still investigating the matter,” he said.
The club owners, Kate Richards and Allen St James, who also goes by Allen Edwards, were devastated as they watched their livelihood go up in smoke.
“We were about to open the biggest beer garden in town.
“We just shut up as normal at 1am and then got a call from a hairdresser just before 8am.
“There has been a major roof collapse.
“We’ve got to get all that debris out before we can do anything,” Ms Richards said.
“We were about to open the biggest beer garden in town."- Kate Richards
The popular watering-hole also received a significant facelift in early 2015 with new carpet, walls and beer lines, all of which now lie in ashes.
A spokesperson from the NSW Ambulance Service said no one was injured in the incident.
“We were called out at 5:45am but we haven’t been required to treat or transport anyone from the premises,” the spokesperson said.
Also effected by the incident is musician, Willow Stahlut from the The Imprints, an Australian band who were set to perform at the club on September 24.
Ms Stahlut’s mother, Francesca Stahlut said they were devastated to hear that Armidale had lost a prime live music venue.
“It’s [the Armidale Club] always been a supporter of live music and it has great atmosphere, that’s something very special.
“Everyone is saying it’s like a death in the family.
“Everyone is saying it’s like a death in the family."- Francesca Stahlut
“It’s also certainly left us in the lurch.
“She’s [Willow] just got back from touring overseas and she was keen to do a home-town gig.
“We’re looking at possibilities but I don’t know if it’s going to go ahead if we can’t find something that’s suitable,” Ms Stahlut said.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
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