THE owner of Rainbow Beach's one-stop Foodworks has declared the shop as good as 'ruined' , after a blaze tore through the Coloured Sands Cafe that adjoins it last night.
Unable to open for business today, owner Ruth Modine said there was smoke damage to the store and it was closed for business until further notice.
"Things aren't good. I'm still waiting for the insurance assessor," she told The Gympie Times today.
AN INFERNO that gutted the Coloured Sands Café at Rainbow Beach last night has left the owners devastated and seven staff members instantly out of work.
"It's 20 years up in flames," owners Andy and Alison Stiefler said standing near the back of the charred and twisted café where a fire is believed to have broken out in an ice cream freezer at 8.30 last night.
Two staff members, who were cleaning inside the café when the fire started, escaped unharmed before the building was fully engulfed.
When fire crews from the Rainbow Beach auxiliary arrived they averted a "disaster for the whole town" by containing the fire before it reached two large gas cylinders at the back of the business, Mr Stiefler, who arrived at the scene just before fire officers did, told The Gympie Times.
"If they'd blown up it would've flattened the whole main street," he said.
"That gas line...right above the door...was red hot. They took a fair amount of risk to go in there and do what they've done."
Rainbow Beach fire auxiliary officer Greg Haring said when the three crews arrived, the outcome of the burning building was not clear.
The fire was extinguished by 9.10pm, while it took another hour and a half to search for and dampen down hot spots.
"When we arrived I wasn't actually confident we would save the structure.
"We're delighted with the outcome."
As a hot spring day began to make itself felt at Rainbow Beach this morning, Mr and Mrs Steifler were assessing the damage of the business they've put "20 years of hard slog into".
The brick structure still stands, but the tin roof and beam that supported it are bowed and buckled and the entire inside is a mess of twisted metal and debri, still emanating a smell of smoke.
Mr Steifler believes they may need a clean start; the building too damaged to survive.
"We've got three young kids and that's all they've known - us working here. We've been here for so long. There will be a lot of people pretty upset about it - they know how hard we've worked."
"And the staff are instantly out of a job."
He said the timing could not be worse - leading into the summer holiday period; the café's busiest trading time.
"It's sad. Life throws some crazy things at you sometimes, that's for sure."
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