Fire at Reid’s Guest House leaves 50 people looking for accommodation | The mail

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An accommodation facility in Ballarat has been declared a crime scene after an incident last night. According to a spokesperson for Fire Rescue Victoria, firefighters were called to an address on Lydiard Street following reports of a fire and explosion shortly after 10 p.m. Crews arrived within four minutes and found a fire in the kitchen of Reid’s Guest House. The firefighters, equipped with breathing apparatus, carried out a search and evacuated the premises. The teams intervened quickly to put out the fire, bringing it under control around 10:50 p.m. One person suffered burns and was later taken to hospital for treatment. The Ballarat Criminal Investigation Unit is investigating the incident. Acting Senior Detective Sergeant Paul Allen told The Courier the guest house was declared a crime scene as police waited for a fire chemist to attend later in the day. He said someone was helping the police with their investigations. The guesthouse was evacuated in the middle of the night which meant Uniting – who run the property – had a busy night. General Manager Annette Kelly-Egerton said all staff and 50 guests were evacuated to the Breezeway facility. “They were all amazing because they were all woken up in the middle of the night and moved. It would have been pretty scary for them.” Currently, all Uniting services have come together to support relocated guests – providing bedding for guests to camp on Breezeway ground, in a safe environment. This morning, staff worked with each person to determine alternate accommodation. Ms Kelly-Egerton said other services, such as Anglicare, also provided support and provided breakfast for all customers. The extent of the damage to the building is not yet known, but the service is preparing for the guesthouse to be closed for at least a week. “For us right now, we’re focusing on people, who can’t even go back there right now to collect their clothes and other belongings. It’s incredibly difficult for people.” “At this time, our focus is on consumers who reside at Reid’s to ensure that we meet their immediate needs,” Ms. Kelly-Egerton said. “We’re trying to sort everything out, but our priority right now is to make sure everyone has a roof over their head that’s safe and secure for at least the next week.” If you see this message, you are a loyal digital subscriber to The Courier, as we have made this story available only to subscribers. Thank you so much for your support and for allowing us to continue to tell the story of Ballarat. We appreciate your support for journalism in our great city.

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