BURNT OUT: Fire investigators look through Cameron’s Arcade in River Street, Maclean, where a fire ripped through on Saturday night, gutting the arcade and taking out four shops. Photo: Debrah Novak
BURNT OUT: Fire investigators look through Cameron’s Arcade in River Street, Maclean, where a fire ripped through on Saturday night, gutting the arcade and taking out four shops. Photo: Debrah Novak

Fire guts iconic arcade in Maclean

THE Maclean retail precinct of River Street has been scarred by another fire, but it could have been a lot worse if not for the speedy response by fire crews.

Despite the alarm being raised close to midnight on Saturday night, firefighters flew into action coming from all corners of the Clarence to attend.

This is the fourth blaze in the past decade that has hit the historic township, this latest ordeal paralysing Cameron's Arcade shops with smoke and heat damage.

Crews were summoned to the fire by a triple 000 caller at 11.36pm, their prompt actions containing the spread to neighbouring premises, including the Maclean Fire Station.

The irony of this was not lost on Duty Commander Northern River Inspector Gary White, who said it was "pretty unusual for the guys to arrive at the station and open the door to see the engine room filling up with smoke."

"They basically had to get dressed in there and get the truck out to drive it a few metres away," Inspector White said.

Peter Thompson, who operates Maclean Picture Frames, one of the businesses affected by the fire, was at the scene yesterday checking on his shop.

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"It's burnt out. There's lots of damage to the plant and equipment. I'm anxious to go inside and have a proper look.

"The engineers have to go in first to check on things but I'm more concerned about clients' artworks being secure. Time will tell," he said.

Allan Adamson Jnr, son of the owner of Cameron's Arcade, said the century-old building has been in the family since 1998.

"The arcade (former Gerards Department Store building) was constructed around 1908," he said.

"It was a surprise to get the phone call about it being on fire in the middle of the night. There's not much you can do in those circumstances.

" It was great to see the fire brigades contain the fire to just our building."

Other businesses affected include Clarence Valley Home Equipment, trophy shop Northern Rivers Awards and Sea Eagle Fashions, which supplies uniforms.

Fire brigades came from Maclean, Yamba and Grafton, along with the local with Gulmarrad RFS to bring the blaze under control.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation by the State Fire Brigade and the police.

Maclean's CBD fires

  • 2006: Boulevarde fire. Started in the residence above Blue Wren gift shop and spread to the Boulevarde Cafe. A code red fire which destroyed the precinct.
  • 2008: Video shop fire. Twelve people were evacuated during the blaze and the upper storey was extensively damaged.
  • Around 2011: Carney's Arcade fire. Started in a bin at the rear of the arcade causing damage to the rear of the building.


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