FIRST LOOK: Church Pharmacy inside 'completely gone'
CHURCH Pharmacy owner Brent Byrne was horrified when he saw the extent of internal fire damage to his historic building.
When the NewsMail spoke to Mr Byrne today he was still coming to grips with the aftermath of a fire that broke out in the Barolin St chemist yesterday morning.
Mr Byrne sent photos to the NewsMail which shows just how badly the inside of the building was affected.
The photos show the lining of the walls have been totally burnt out, the frames of the walls have extensive fire damage and the contents of the building totally destroyed.
Any of the interior of the building that wasn't fire damaged has extensive smoke damage.
"It has to be completely stripped," Mr Byrne said.
"The extent of the damage isn't just what you see from outside. The inside is completely gone."
Mr Byrne said assessors and engineers would arrive tomorrow to check the structural state of the building.
He said it was not yet known whether the building would need to be demolished.
Mr Byrne confirmed the fire was caused by phone systems shorting out.
"IT IS totalled. The medications are all gone. We had to go out and buy a pen this morning. That's what is left."
Brent Byrne said nothing remained of his Church Pharmacy business after a fire ravaged it this morning.
Mr Byrne said he was still in shock after witnessing the pharmacy go up in flames on Barolin St.
"I got the call at 5.26am. Rechenberg sent security around who realised there was a fire and they called fire-fighters. By the time I got there, before 6am, the place was well and truly alight," he said.
"I'm probably still running on adrenalin at the moment. It probably hasn't sunk in yet because there has been so many things to sort out. Once the adrenaline goes, it will probably be a very different story."
WATCH | Brent Byrne talks to the NewsMail:
Bundaberg Regional Libraries last night posted on Facebook a history of the Church Pharmacy building.
The post said the origin of the church's congregation was during the 1880s, when John Thomson, of the Pialba Kanaka Mission, conducted services in the Elliott River area (now Calavos).
Mr and Mrs J Asmus kept the declining congregation going during later years.
After a six-week mission at Bundaberg in 1923, a chapel was erected at the corner of Targo St and Normanby Square.
In 1926 the existing church building was erected and the chapel shifted to an adjoining site for use as a Sunday School.
Restricted parking and a lack of land for expansion led to the erection of a new church in Twyford St in 1988, and the sale of the site and church building on March 27, 1989.
The old church building was turned into Chippindall Pharmacy by chemist John Heaps, and is now known as the Church Pharmacy.
Picture Bundaberg has a photo, circa 1960, of the then Church of Christ.
EARLIER: FIRE FIGHTERS have begun to clear the scene at the Church Pharmacy on Barolin St this morning.
A fire broke out in the iconic building at about 5.30am. Bundaberg Queensland Fire and Emergency Services inspector Ron Higgins said on arrival, large volumes of smoke were issuing from the building.
Two fire-fighters from Maryborough were sent as back-up support for Bundaberg crews at about 6am.
The fire-fighters took Maryborough's operational support unit to the church fire.
A witness told the NewsMail he was on his way to work nearby the pharmacy when he saw smoke billowing from its roof.
"A mobile security guard was there and he called firefighters straight away," the witness said.
"It got worse but fire fighters worked on it and it was all over by about 7.15am."
Queensland Ambulance Service senior operations supervisor Martin Kelly said paramedics were on stand by during the emergency.
"Essentially our role was to maintain a pace to check the fire fighters as they came out of the fire and make sure they are well," he said.
Senior constable Danielle Loftus of Bundaberg Police said the fire was believed to have started in the kitchen area and was smouldering for an extensive period of time before fire-fighters were alerted.
No one was inside the building when the fire started.
Investigations are continuing.
EARLIER: A FIRE has destroyed the back section of the historic Church Pharmacy building on Barolin St this morning.
Four fire trucks with 20 fire fighters, some in breathing apparatus, battled the fire and saved the front section of the former church.
Firefighters used a metal cutting saw to cut open a rear roller door to gain access to the rear of the building.
A firefighter command centre has been set up, and firemen remain on scene dampening down any "hotspots" and ventilating the building.
Bundaberg Police and Queensland Ambulance Service are also at the scene.
The streets surrounding the area have been closed and police have asked the public to avoid the area.