A devastating blaze engulfed the heritage-listed Claremont Municipal Chambers and Library in Western Australia just after 6.30pm last night, losing 112 years of history with a damaged estimated at more than $7.5 million. The library staff were still working when the fire, believed to have started in the air conditioning, started. Thankfully, all staff and patrons were able to escape before firefighters were called.
Although the town had a fire-resistant safe which held the council’s vital records, Clarement Mayor, Jock Barker, said that the building, which was constructed in 1898, held irreplaceable photos and documents. There was also a collection of drawings and photos of councilors from the very early years in the chambers.
Firefighters were able to protect the computer system with fire-retardant foam, but it would be a while before they would know if the system had been destroyed.
Too many events, just like this one, have been reported during the past year and serves as a reminder that it’s important to take proper actions to preserve our irreplaceable historic buildings and records.
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