Mildura Weekly : Friday January 24 2014 Vol 8 No 12
Long-time owners of the popular Deakin Avenue PJ’s supermarket and bottle-shop, John and Fiona Green, were still in shock yesterday after fire destroyed the business early Wednesday. Heavy equipment spent several hours at the scene to render the burnt-out ruins safe. By ALAN ERSKINE and BEN PISCIONERI IT’S been a harrowing end to the week for the Green family in the wake of the fire that destroyed their newsagency, supermarket and bot- tle-shop early Wednesday morn- ing. John Green and his wife Fio- na have been fielding dozens of phone calls, meeting with their insurers, staff and neighbouring shop-owners in the wake of the blaze that gutted PJ’s. An obviously emotional John told the Mildura Weekly yesterday it was too early to say whether the complex would be rebuilt. That was a decision that would be made after further talks with the insurance company, and the 15 staff who worked at the busy one- stop shop that has been a part of Mildura for around 40 years. “We are meeting with the in- surers again tomorrow,” John said. “We will also be talking to our ac- countants, but won’t be making any decisions until everything is settled. “First and foremost I want to act in the best interests of our staff.” John and Fiona bought PJ’s from their parents 11 years ago. Previously known as Rafaels su- permarket, the business was taken over by Phil Bryce and John Ferrier - becoming PJ’s after their first ini- tials, and they sold it to John Green senior in 1988. The shop fire, believed to have started about 1am Wednesday, at- tracted passers-by from a wide area, and Deakin Avenue was blocked to traffic as seven Country Fire Au- thority units and one Wentworth unit, manned by 50 firefighters, fought the inferno. It took them more than 90 minutes to bring the blaze under control, with fire crews’ attention not just on battling the PJ’s fire, but protecting adjoining businesses. Fire crews remained at the site until 1.10pm Wednesday, using heavy machinery to get to any re- maining hot spots as well as mak- ing the remains of the building safe for both passersby and fire investi- gators. While the PJ’s fire had too firm a hold for the first firefighters on the scene to save the building, CFA crews have been widely praised for protecting adjoining buildings, which escaped unscathed, despite the intensity of the fire and their close proximity. “The guys who responded did a fantastic job in being able to protect the buildings either side, to stop the fire spreading,” CFA Se- nior Station Officer at Mildura, Joel Davey, said this week. “Often in that situation, with adjoining shops, fire and smoke tend to get into those buildings, so the responding crews did a tremen- dous job.” Like the fire that destroyed the former Maples building in Dea- kin Avenue in the late 1980s/ear- ly 1990s, the loss of PJ’s is much more than simply the loss of an- other Mildura retail outlet. It’s one of those buildings or businesses that’s “just always been there” in long-time Mildura resi- dents’ minds, an important con- tributor to the local economy, and a popular outlet for hundreds of nearby residents and passing traffic for the seven-day shopping service it provided. While investigations into the cause of the blaze are still under way, the CFA this week all but ruled out any suspicious circumstances, confirming the fire wasn’t being treated as suspicious. * For more photographs visit our interactive newspaper at www. milduraweekly.com.au. Distributed FREE every Friday Vol. 8 No. 12 www.milduraweekly.com.au Friday, January 24, 2014 Photo: DARREN SEILER at the scene to render the burnt-out ruins safe. PJ’s razed!
Friday January 17 2014 Vol 8 No11
Friday January 31 Vol 8 No 13