DARREN Walker’s heart sank as he hung up the phone.
The manager of Simmons Bakery had just been told the business was on fire, and there was nothing he could do.
Darren was in Sydney when fire tore through the bakery about 7pm on Friday night.
“It’s very hard when you’re that far away,” Darren said.
“You can’t see how bad it is.”
And the flames did massive damage to the building, with the front shop part gutted and the back area extensively damaged, according to Darren.
Three Biloela brigade crews put the fire out in about an hour, with smoke damage the biggest concern.
It appears an electrical fault was the cause of the fire, first noticed by Biloela teenager Joel Perry as he returned some DVDs to the video shop a few doors down.
Joel, 15, told Central Telegraph he saw flames and smoke coming from the front of the bakery.
“There were flames and black smoke coming out of the cracks in the windows,” Joel said.
He rang 000 on his mobile to call the fire brigade and then told a lady living next door about the fire.
Joel helped another man who stopped to move some gas cylinders out of harm’s way.
The year-10 student watched the firefighters fight the blaze and left after giving a statement to police.
Darren, who manages the bakery for his father and its owner, Ivan, said he was worried about what would happen to the business’s staff.
Simmons employed 10 permanent staff, including Darren and his wife, Jenny, 14 casual staff and four juniors.
Darren said he doesn’t know their employment status yet, and they need to await the insurance company’s assessment.
“Everything’s up in the air at the moment – we’ve just got to soldier on.
“It’s one step at a time and we’ve just got to wade through the paperwork,” the heart-broken manager said.
He thanked the police and the fire brigade for their efforts, and the help from the community.
“We’re definitely keen to go again and start from scratch,” Darren said.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.