'DUMBFOUNDED': Monster blaze guts local club
FORLORN faces watched the Cudgen Leagues Club as decades worth of memories were gutted by fire.
Emergency services were alerted through numerous Triple Zero calls to the blaze about 3.30pm today as smoke was visible from the Kingscliff beach shoreline.
About 30 firefighters from six NSW Fire and Rescue crews including Kingscliff, Banora Point and Brunswick Heads and two from Queensland are battling the major structure fire at the popular watering hole into the night.
Licks of flames were visible from the outside of the building at 5.15pm as a NSW Fire and Emergency spokesman said crews were worried about the building's front wall collapsing and had set up an exclusion zone.
By 6.30pm, parts of the blaze were under control with the help of a Queensland cherry picker applying water to the roof. At the time of publication, there were no known people inside the building and no reported injuries.
In an ironic twist of fate, the monster building fire broke out on International Firefighters Day.
A spokesman for the Cudgen Hornets Rugby League Club, who are based at Cudgen Leagues Club, described the mood from onlookers as "dumbfounded". He said while the building could be replaced, memorabilia could not be.
The inside of the clubhouse contained decades worth of history and photographs.
The spokesman confirmed the extent of the damage was still unknown.
Outpouring of grief for the staple of the Tweed region flooded social media. Councillor James Owen also paid tribute to the popular watering hole and sports hub.
"My thoughts and condolences are with our local community whilst they navigate this tremendous loss," he said.
Cr Owen explained the blow was just the latest after the club like many in the area were already "on their knees" due to the coronavirus restrictions.
"This comes at a time when potentially at the end of the week there could be positive news about people being able to return to the work or come to hang out and talk about everything that has happened... now that has been taken away from many people. There is a lot of history associated with the club. It is very sad," he said.
Cr Owen said the loss of the building was compounded by the number of community and sporting groups like Rotary and the Kingscliff RSL who used the club.
The cause of the blaze remains unknown.