Early on Tuesday evening a fire broke out at Carpet Choice in Fairy Meadow, destroying the building and its contents.
Black smoke bellowed from the roof as the fire began to take hold of the rest of the building and it wasn’t long before two metre high flames could be seen flapping from the building. A small crowd began to gather and people emerged from their houses as the first emergency response team arrived, an ambulance.
Within minutes the fire had spread through the building and signage at the front of the building began to collapse inwards; the white paneled walls of the building were a visible bright orange colour. As the fire brigades arrived small explosions could be heard coming from inside. Sparks were flying from the power lines attached to the front of the building, but even more sparks were spraying from the angle grinder a fireman used to cut open the front door.
Carpet Choice owner Mick Greham has since been wondering what caused the fire and what he’ll do to restore his business, “we’ve lost everything” he told crossfire today (Thursday). Mr Greham was already at home, forty minutes away, after locking up for the night and leaving at 5:20 when security rang him.
Despite the economic downturn “business has been good” says Mr Greham. “We have customers still…people have paid deposits, we just have to keep going”.
police have been stationed out the front of the complex since the fire which has been classified as a crime scene. So far there are no clues as to how the fire started and the area is yet to be secured for people to enter and investigate. Reports of a car soon after the fire started leaving the area are being followed up by police.
Mr Greham moved to Australia on the 12thDecember 1986 with 500 pounds in his pocket. He worked three jobs to obtain the Carpet Choice business; one of which was as a fireman, although his experience has not given him any clues as to how the blaze started. “We’re always careful, make sure every-things off and every-things wrapped up”, he says.
Carpet Choice has experienced numerous attacks from vandals. The business was burgled twice in October last year and has had the locks super glued shut three times in twelve months.
Mr Greham is now focused on finding another location for his family business and continuing to serve his customers. He says many of the comforting phone calls he has received have come former customers.
Tony Cafe of T.C Forensic will be investigating the cause of the fire and assessing the damage once access to the area is granted. Mr Cafe has been involved in assessing several Wollongong fires including the Ethanol Tank which exploded at Port Kembla in 2004.
Mr Greham is unable to contact customers as all his records and contacts were lost in the fire. If you are a customer of Carpet Choice Wollongong please contact Mr Greham on 42250900.