The all too common scenario of a regional pub taken by flames recently saw the end of Pittsworth’s Tattersalls Club Hotel and a short-stay resident inside.
Around 2:30am last Thursday, fire alarms sounded a warning for the 12 people inside the circa 1900 two-storey timber structure, but only 11 were outside when fire crews arrived to find the hotel engulfed in flame.
A 26-year-old Brisbane man was reported missing. His body was discovered by authorities after the blaze was extinguished.
“[He] was working with a group that provides services for charity,” said Detective Inspector Dave Isherwood. “They were all in their rooms. We don’t really know why he didn’t get out at this stage.”
Locals reported to the ABC hearing explosions from the Hotel, “like a big firecracker”, and one of the 25 firefighters involved said the intensity put them “in defensive mode” and made a rescue attempt impossible.
There were fears the fire could jump the road to a transport company yard, threatening a fuel bowser there, but crews were able to get it under control without spread to neighbouring properties.
The pub, which describes itself as “the country pub in the country”, is outside of Toowoomba, about two hours from Brisbane. It was renovated in recent years, and has enjoyed steady passing trade through the idyllic Darling Downs region as well as local patronage and respect.
Authorities are conducting an investigation into the cause of the fire, but do report working alarms.