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Owners of burnt down pub planning to rebuild

The owners of a South Townsville pub destroyed by fire are already looking to re-open it.

The heritage-listed Victoria Park Hotel was reduced to rubble when a destructive fire flared up in the top floor of the pub just after midnight last Friday.

The owner, Frank Sexton, had gone out for a walk at the time of the blaze.  His wife and co-owner Robyn had been compiling the day’s takings in the bottle shop next door.

Mr Sexton, 78, said he thought it was an intruder when he heard the alarms go off when he returned from the bottle shop. There had been a recent break-ion and an attempted break-in.

He said Robyn had gone upstairs to check their bedroom. But at the top of the stairs she saw “there was all this bloody smoke”.

Telling her to get out, they tried calling the fire brigade but the pub’s phone wasn’t working.

They managed to flee the blaze, moving their car to safety and saving the dog.

The fire fighters finally arrived but it was too late to save the pub which had been their livelihood for the last 21 years.

“By the time they got here it was too late. It was a matter of minutes,” Mr Sexton told the Townsville Bulletin.

“It was a beautiful pub. We tried to make it the best place we could.”

He said he and Robyn were “both okay”.

Friends were now arranging temporary accommodation for them both.

He said it was “too early yet” to know what to do with the pub site but they are already planning ahead.

Robyn is now working out whether they could open an outdoor bar in the beer garden.

“We’ll try and get something going,” Mr Sexton told the Townville Bulletin.

The pub, built in 1895, was a popular sport for fishermen and railway workers.

It had been listed for sale recently.

Leon Getler June 12th 2018.