Surf club goes up in smoke
WHEN 82-year-old Barrie Cribb was leaving the Yamba Surf Club gym after his regular workout yesterday, he spotted smoke billowing from the roller doors of the North Coast’s oldest surf club and sprung into action.
The club stalwart said he immediately forgot about heading home about 12.15pm and raced to alert the club caretaker, Steve Body, of the disaster that was unfolding.
“I tried to raise the caretaker but he was in the shower and did not know what was happening,” he said. “So I rushed back down and rang triple-0.”
In a brave act, which people more than half his age would hesitate doing, Mr Cribb retrieved a barbecue and two gas bottles as fire began to consume the garages.
“I am glad I got those two gas bottles out of the shed, if I didn’t it would have gone up.”
As he waited for the fire brigade to arrive, Mr Cribb watched helplessly as the blaze intensified.
“It was contained inside, you couldn’t see how it started,” he said.
“I saw white smoke and then black smoke pouring out from the boatshed.”
The thought of the 120 litres of outboard fuel in the garages played on Mr Cribb’s mind, as pungent black smoke from burning rubber and foam filled the air.
“I am just so happy the whole place didn’t go up ... I thought it might, especially if the petrol had gone up,” he said.
“Ten more minutes and the whole place would have gone up.”
Fire Brigade officers wearing breathing apparatus cordoned off the club with tape as they began to check for smouldering remnants that could re-ignite. Early estimates put the damage bill at more than $100,000, with three inflatable boats, outboard motors and patrol equipment destroyed.