Pub repairs come first
THE blackened Buddha outside the Bangkok Thai Hut says it all.
It's a dramatic reminder of the fire which swept through the Coffs Hotel last week, throwing the lives of staff and residents, and all trading, into disarray.
Gaye and Charoen Sroyphet and their three staff churn out 500 meals a week at the Thai eatery, the pub's principal kitchen, but that has now come to a dramatic halt.
Their cooking area didn't fare too badly, with stock and smoke damage their main headaches.
However, the couple aren't sure when they can resume business, because hotel management is also uncertain when the pub will re open.
"Many of our customers and friends have been worried. It's our business, it's our livelihood," Gaye said.
"When I first heard there was a fire, I thought 'Was it the kitchen, did it start in the kitchen'.
"We were just blown away, like everyone. It's a big shock."
Mardona's Wine Bar has become a makeshift salvage centre where staff are gathering the items which made it.
While inquiries continue into what sparked the blaze, which started in the office, licensee Marty Phillips confirmed all his 43 staff would be covered for their loss of income.
"Our residents are looking for alternative accommodation," he said.
He considers the best option is to keep the pub closed until all repairs are completed, rather than re-opening it in piecemeal fashion. He says a recently-installed fire alarm/security system, combined with fire doors and smoke alarms, had saved the day.