Late last night (December 4), Robert Steward received a phone call that would terrify any business manager.
According to The Heritage’s project manager Mr Steward, it went along the lines of, “there are fire fighters at your restaurant and I think it’s on fire”.
A deliberate fire was lit on the back patio of The Heritage, a restaurant located on Mandurah Terrace, just before 12am.
The fire damage extends inside the building and some of the jarrah floorboards will have to be replaced.
Fire crews estimated the damage bill to be about $10,000.
Mr Steward thanked a bouncer from The Brighton Hotel who saw the smoke and called the fire crews.
Without his quick thinking the entire building would have “gone up in smoke”.
This isn’t the first set back during the building process for Mr Steward and the business owners.
There have been problems with council zoning, getting the building ready for service and other issues.
“Turning an old heritage listed building into a restaurant can be tricky,” Mr Steward said.
“At times it has been a nightmare, but we are so close to the building being finished.
“Despite this latest setback we are determined to have the restaurant opened in January.”
Tuckey House, where The Heritage is located, was built by the Tuckey family in 1880 as a cannery for fish and fruit.
When the cannery relocated elsewhere, the building became a general store.
Most of last night’s fire damage was sustained to the outside veranda, which was not part of the original building.
However, the floors inside the building also sustained damage and some of that wood is more than 100-years-old.
“Mandurah doesn’t have a lot of heritage listed buildings,” Mr Steward said.
“It would have been a real loss to the town’s history if it had burnt down.”
Mr Steward said they had problems with homeless people using the premises for shelter in the past.
He had to hand in a backpack and other belongings to police a few months ago.
Mr Steward suspects the fire may have been lit by someone trying to keep warm last night.
Police are investigating the fire.