By Tyler Wright
The Paradise Valley Hotel has reopened to the public after a suspected arson attack on Sunday 30 July.
The Clematis venue reopened to the community at midday on Friday 4 August after CFA units were called at about 3am to extinguish a blaze underneath the pub’s balcony just five days prior.
Building materials being used in renovations were set alight in the storage area.
Part owner Mark Protheroe said he was “blown away” by the support from the community and thanked locals for helping the business get back on track so swiftly.
“The tradies involved with the repairs have been awesome,” Mr Protheroe said.
“Generally the community has been positive and we’re just glad to see some smiling faces back in the venue a bit earlier than we thought.”
Mr Protheroe said the ground floor where the business mostly operates was relatively untouched by the fire itself and the smoke smell has dissipated.
“All the main services have been returned,” he said.
“Some of the plumbing is still getting up and running. They put in six new toilets, but there’s two more left to do.
“[There’s] some small sort of issues around the beer lines…that have been semi fixed enough to work, but will need ongoing maintenance.”
Mr Protheroe said there are ongoing insurance claims regarding to loss of income as well as features and fittings stored under the pub.
“In terms of the arson itself, there is a person of interest, but we aren’t privy to how that’s going,” he said.
“Emptying under the pub where the fire was will start this week or next week with some diggers and an excavation effort to pull all the burnt wreckage out.”
In an unrelated incident, police are investigating a brawl that occurred at the pub just hours before the fire erupted.
Officers were called to the venue where it’s believed up to 20 people were fighting inside and outside the pub just before 11pm on Saturday 29 July.
Anyone who witnessed the incident or with information or CCTV/Dashcam footage is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au