Second pool fire, arson suspected

FIRE is becoming an all-too-familiar companion for Alan Paterson, his sister Allura, and their popular business.

Only 15 months after arsonists torched the Grafton pool buildings they manage jointly, arson is again suspected as the cause of a fire to the other major component of their business, the South Grafton Pool and Gym.

Late on Friday night flames leapt metres into the air above the kiosk area of the South Grafton building, the temperature so intense it twisted and warped 100-120mm metal RSJ beams.

The roof over the kiosk area has been destroyed.

“We hadn’t really got over the last fire – this has just devastated us,” Alan said yesterday.

He said police had told him they thought intruders had climbed onto the roof of the building, and then scaled down a wall and broke through into the kiosk area.

“There’s only ever drinks and lollies in there,” he said.

He said that when he got to the building on Friday night an oxygen bottle was close to the flames. It was oxygen cylinders at the Grafton pool that exploded to cause so much damage in the December 2008 fire.

“It could have easily blown up the people who set the fire,” he said.

South Grafton Fire Brigade captain Dennis Pye said it was an intense fire, and had taken about an hour to bring under control.

He said louvres near the centre’s hydrotherapy pool appeared to have been broken.

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