"Treasured Ashes" saved from Hungry Jack Restaurant fire - Albury

Published: 23rd January 2010

Just after 5.00pm on Saturday 23 January, fire took hold of the cooking area of the Hungry Jacks Family Restaurant on the Old Hume Highway in Albury. Albury Central fire crews arrived within just seven minutes, with Albury Civic fire crews arriving one minute later but the fire had already spread into the roof area and was rapidly involving the whole building. The tanker crew from North Albury also responded to the scene. It appears as though the fire may have started in a cooking vat and quickly spread through ducting into the roof void and there were concerns that several gas cylinders at the rear of the restaurant could become involved. Fortunately all 90 staff and customers including two bus loads of tourists evacuated safely, however, one staff member advised fire officers that her handbag inside the restaurant contained a locket of her father's ashes who had died when she was only eight years old. Albury Central fire rescue officers formed a retrieval party and to the relief of the woman, were able to locate and save the locket. By 6.30pm the roof of the restaurant collapsed making final extinguishment a difficult operation.