Investigators are looking into the cause of a fire which gutted The Edwards, a Newcastle bar and restaurant co-owned by Silverchair bass player Chris Joannou.
A team of forensic examiners visited the site yesterday on Parry Street after a blaze tore through it during the early hours.
No-one was injured in the fire, which took more than three hours to extinguish and required dozens of firefighters. Some 70% of the building was destroyed, the ABC reports.
There were no “glaringly obvious” signs of suspicious circumstances, local police told the Newcastle Herald, but there aren’t any updates at this stage. Forensics will “have to look at what the causal factors were and whether a further investigation needs to be made at that point,” Newcastle duty officer Chief Inspector Paul Johnson tells TIO.
Messages of support have flooded in for the Edwards, a popular hub for Novocastrian foodies and culture vultures which was established in 2014 by Joannou and his business partner Chris Johnston.
“This is no ordinary bar,” the establishment boasts on its website, “ it’s the heart of a vibrant, creative community blooming in the awesome post-industrial architecture of Newcastle’s West End.”
A statement on the venue’s official Instagram page reads, “Friends, as we process the enormity of what went down last night, we are absolutely blown away by the love and support that has poured in from our beloved Newy and wider community – for this, words alone will never do, it’s all feels.” Its owners pay homage to the emergency who “worked tirelessly to ensure there was zero injury and minimal damage to the neighbourhood. These guys are the real MVPs.”
TIO has reached out to reps for Joannou, whose family has owned the site –a one-time dry cleaning business — for more than 20 years.
Fire crews prevented damage to the adjacent laundromat, restaurant and record store, though, sadly, some 80,000 bees may be been destroyed. Newcastle business Urban Hum had three hives on The Edwards’ roof.
“My sincerest condolences to all the crew The Edwards Bar,” reads an Urban Hum message posted Thursday on social media. “The guys have been great supporters of Urban Hum from very early on and for that we thank you. I hope they can bounce back from this awful event. The fate of the hives on the roof is unknown at this stage.
My sincerest condolences to all the crew @theedwardsbar The guys have been great supporters of Urban Hum from very early on and for that we thank you. I hope they can bounce back from this awful event. The fate of the hives on the roof is unknown at this stage. They were located on the remaining roof but we can’t get near to check them. Survival is probably unlikely. Repost from @newcastleherald #fingerscrossed #lifeisfullofsurprises
“They were located on the remaining roof but we can’t get near to check them. Survival is probably unlikely.”
The statement concludes with the hashtags, #fingerscrossed and #lifeisfullofsurprises.