FIRE has destroyed Eugowra’s historic Fat Lamb Hotel.
The blaze is believed to have started about 5.30am on Monday and quickly spread through the 85-year-old Broad Street hotel.
Police from Orange’s Canobolas Local Area Command were still investigating the fire yesterday and said it was too early to speculate on the cause.
“We are just waiting for the site to cool down and then we will send our investigators in to try to work out the cause,” Inspector Peter Atkins said yesterday morning.
Inspector Atkins said it would not be possible for officers to enter the site until yesterday afternoon.
Eugowra businessman and Eugowra Rural Fire Service (RFS) secretary Danny Townsend was the first person to raise the alarm.
He arrived at his Eugowra supermarket to open the doors about 5.40am and immediately noticed the fire in the hotel across the road.
“It was already up in the gutters and the roof,” Mr Townsend said.
He notified his RFS colleagues and the first of two units arrived within 10 minutes.
Mr Townsend said the RFS could do little.
“It was too late anyway,” he said. “By the time I came over the [Mandagery Creek] bridge the whole roof was on fire.”
Eugowra police, the RFS and Eugowra SES were joined at the scene by a Fire and Rescue unit from Canowindra, but it was not possible to prevent the fire from destroying the building.
Inspector Atkins said it was believed there was no one inside the hotel at the time of the fire.
Licensees Allan and Carla Myors said the loss of the historic building was devastating.
“The fire alarms went off at about 5.30 and within half an hour it was gone,” Carla said yesterday.
The Fat Lamb Hotel is owned by Sydney man Paul McGirr, who also owns several other hotels in country NSW.
Mrs Myors said the licensees and the owner would like to rebuild.
“We have been talking to the owner and hopefully we can because the town needs it,” she said.
“We just have to wait and see what [police] find because they are still there now.”