Second blaze ravages buildings at historic railway workshops

UPDATE: For the second time in little more than a year, fire has ripped through historic buildings near The Workshops Rail Museum.

As happened last September, initial reports said the fire early yesterday morning had engulfed the museum complex at North Ipswich.

Although those fears were again allayed, the fire did even more buildings from the historic former Ipswich railway workshops.

The fire started just before 1am and Ipswich Queensland Fire and Rescue Service crews fought the flames with help from Brisbane units.

Two buildings separated by a walkway were razed and fire leapt to a nearby derelict building and lit its ceiling space.

QFRS Ipswich station officer Brad Lambourne said crews did well to save two other buildings.

"There are some big structures in behind there that have not been touched," he said.

The Workshops Rail Museum director Andrew Moritz said it was an unwelcome case of deja vu after last September's fire.

"When I got a call in the early hours of the morning there were thoughts the museum was on fire but it quickly became evident it was in the same place as last year," Mr Moritz said.

The burnt buildings were about 200m from the nearest museum building but close enough to spread had firefighters not acted.

The land is owned by Leda and, as with the buildings destroyed last year, those lost yesterday contained asbestos.

Ipswich CIB Detective Sergeant John Hopkins said the fire was deliberately lit and an investigation was proceeding.

"We've door-knocked and we've checked the cameras but we have nothing at the moment," he said.

Mayor Paul Pisasale said the usual reward of $2000 in relation to damage of public property would be doubled in this case.

"The Workshops are safe again but only thanks to the great work of our firefighters," he said.

Police scientific officers are liaising with QFRS investigators to examine the cause of the fire.



Topics:  fire north ipswich railway workshops railway workshops museum

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