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Historic Longreach pub Lyceum Hotel gutted by ‘very intense fire’


View of the back of five people watching flames and smoke pour out of the top of a building across the road from them Photo: Residents stood and watched the century-old pub burn. (ABC News: Aneeta Bhole)
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A historic outback Queensland pub has been gutted after being engulfed by flames last night.

The fire broke out at the landmark Lyceum Hotel in Longreach about 7:00pm.

Residents flocked to the streets in their pyjamas to witness the century-old establishment crumble before them.

Donna, who had been playing bingo at the time, said she was alerted to the fire by a friend over Facebook.

“It was a pretty good pub, it’s really sad to see it go and it’s a part of Longreach’s history and to see it burn down is just really sad,” she said.

“It shut down recently and they said they were going to reopen it and refurbish it and now this has happened.”

Another bystander said she had met her partner at the Lyceum and commented the town would not be the same without it.

Longreach police inspector Mark Henderson said the building had been in the town for a long time, but had been shut down recently.

“It was not open at the time, the pub has been closed for some time for financial issues,” he said.

“They were looking at reopening but unfortunately this has brought that to an end.

“Large sections of the top floor have already collapsed down onto the ground floor so there’s certainly been a very intense fire.”

Inspector Henderson said the building was old and there had not been significant rain in the area for up to seven years.

“So everything is extremely dry, temperatures are in the high 40s year after year so the timber is very dry and brittle … absolutely perfect for a fire.”

Acting Area Commander Clive Weeks from the Fire and Rescue Service said last night the building would be monitored.

“At this stage it’s quite hard to get at the little hotspots that are remaining … we’re not going to go inside the building,” he said.

Investigators will return to the scene today.

No-one was injured in the blaze and no adjoining property was damaged.





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