Longreach’s historic outback pub was destroyed by fire overnight, joining the fate of its famed Townsville counterpart, the Victoria Park.
Fire broke out at the 100-year-old Lyceum Hotel around 7pm Thursday night. By the time authorities arrived it had well and truly taken hold, and locals watched in dismay as the popular watering hole was gutted.
Large sections of the top floor reportedly collapsed onto the ground floor.
Longreach police inspector Mark Henderson said the old pub had been closed for some time due to “financial issues”. The owners had plans to refurbish and reopen, but that is now unlikely.
No-one was injured, and no adjoining property was damaged. Investigators have begun attempting to determine the cause of the fire.
Further north, the historic Victoria Park Hotel in Townsville City was razed last week.
Owners Robyn and Frank Sexton were upstairs, and alerted emergency services as they escaped, after noticing smoke coming from underneath a door, shortly before smoke alarms sounded.
More than 20 firefighters and seven appliances fought for over three hours to contain the blaze, with parts of the building collapsing and thick plumes of black smoke blanketing the area.
Little more could be done than protect surrounding property. The Hotel was reported completely destroyed and some nearby power lines damaged.
The Sextons have owned and operated the pub for more than 20 years, but put it to market around a year ago.
One other person was inside, but they also escaped without injury.
Senior Sergeant Scot Warrick of Townsville Police suggested there were no “overt signs” of suspicious circumstance, but investigations continue. It could be some time before results from testing at the scene are finalised.
PubTIC was unable to establish contact with the owners.