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• Cranbourne Corps fire

The heavily damaged worship centre at the Cranbourne Salvation Army Corps.

A sudden, still largely unexplained fire has caused the temporary closure of the Cranbourne Salvation Army Corps in southeast Melbourne, Victoria.

The fire, believed to be caused by an electrical fault, was first detected at 9.20am on Monday 24 July, after staff and volunteers found smoke in a hallway outside the Doorways centre. The fire began in an electrical box in a storeroom, spread into the worship centre and two meeting rooms and filled the entire building with smoke.

Fortunately, no one was injured in the fire. Fire trucks rapidly arrived on the scene and controlled the fire before it spread beyond the property.

Corps Officer Captain David Allman said the damage was extensive despite the building being largely in good order. He said where the fire didn’t cause direct damage, there was smoke and water damage to walls, doors and ceilings.

“[The fire] wrecked one meeting room, partially damaged another one and damaged part of the wall and the ceiling of the worship centre,” he said. “You can’t have any power on, heating [or] internet because it’s all been burnt.”

With the building now unusable and repairs unlikely to be completed until December, Sunday services are occurring in the Casey Grammar School chapel next door to the corps. Corps staff are also seeking alternate locations to host Doorways and other services.

“The fact that we’ve managed to get some things [relocated], even after a week, it’s been positive,” David said. “The rest will just have to [wait].”

– Kirralee Nicolle

Photos of the fire damage to Cranbourne Corps (click for slideshow of photos):


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