A FIRE that destroyed the old two-storey Woodstock Centre in Reservoir Road, Lavington, yesterday afternoon is being treated as being suspicious.
The 20-metre flames of the fire that started at 5.30pm, disrupted an otherwise quiet Sunday afternoon for nearby residents.
Moments after smoke started pouring from the old disabled-care building, curious Resevoir Road residents arrived in the area to watch proceedings.
Soon, more than a dozen fire trucks, police cars and ambulances flooded the enclosed residential area.
The woman responsible for calling triple-0, Sherrelle Kimball, saw clouds of smoke moments before flames appeared at the roof of the vacant building, about 100 metres from where she stood on Reservoir Road.
“You could see the smoke billowing out of the roof and I just called triple-0,” Ms Kimball said.
“There was lots of smoke and, not long after that, flames appeared.
“There’s always kids over there breaking windows — but nothing like this before.”
Resevoir Road father Raymond Chalhoub said he was at home when his children that the building was ion fire.
“I was inside and they called me out,” Mr Chalhoub said.
“They told me they heard a bang and I came out and there was a huge black cloud of smoke.
“I couldn’t breathe and I told the kids to go inside.
“While the fire brigade was coming, flames started to come out from one side of the building to the next.”
At 8pm, smoke was still coming from the burnt-out roof as fire units sprayed the site.
Albury Central Fire Brigade station officer David Herbert said the roof had been all-but destroyed by the blaze.
“It’s basically destroyed the entire roof area and just collapsed the building,” Mr Herbert said.
The Woodstock Centre, formerly owned by the NSW Department of Health, used to be a residential service for people with a disability and their families.
It’s believed to have been sold recently for redevelopment.
Police will attempt to piece together how the fire started.
“It’s being considered suspicious,” said Sgt Steve Bosch, of Albury police.
Anyone with information should call Albury police on (02) 6023 9299 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.