Alan Paterson looking over the damage at the South Grafton Pool.
Alan Paterson looking over the damage at the South Grafton Pool.

Fire destroys South Grafton pool

ALAN Paterson is familiar with arson attacks.

With a sense of stoic humour and a conviction that if he didn’t laugh he’d cry, the South Grafton pool operator yesterday said he was ‘getting used’ to seeing his businesses destroyed by fire.

“It’s bit scary when the phone rings about midnight,” he said as he hosted a media tour of the ashen pool entrance.

Friday night’s phone call came almost 15 months after a similar phone call at a similar time of night told him about the Grafton pool fire.

“We’re still in a tailspin ... just when we thought there was light at the end of the tunnel with the Grafton pool – this happens,” lamented the usually optimistic manager.

Alan, who runs the pools with his sister Allura, said it was a business decision not to insure the contents of the kiosk, office and storage area because premiums had soared to ‘unreasonable’ levels several years ago due to a few minor break-ins.

He estimates the value of the destroyed items, including computers, fax machine, microwave, boxing gear, kindy gym gear and photocopier, to be about $20,000.

“There was also a lot of intellectual property there,” he said, including databases of clients and educational material.

“The more you think about it the more you realise what you’ve lost.

“It’s certainly affected the staff ... people here love their jobs.”

Alan said he and Allura had thought about walking away from the businesses but both refused because they were so entrenched in the many facets of Grafton’s swimming and gym community.

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