Potato Van fire deliberately lit
THE Potato Works trailer and its owner Rod Work were a favourite duo with the Clarence Valley community, gracing our festivals and events all year round with baked potato goodness.
But in the early hours of Saturday morning prior to the Grafton TAFE Markets, all of that changed when the giant potato was destroyed by fire.
Mr Work said CCTV from within the Grafton TAFE campus captured the fire and its perpetrators.
"It was deliberately lit, they had a camera pointed right at the position where the potato was," Mr Work said.
"Just the initial playback of the footage indicates that it was deliberately lit and two persons were involved.
"That just adds insult to injury."
But Mr Work said he didn't need the police to tell him it had been deliberately lit.
"When I arrived, I knew straight away that it was foul play because there was a gas bottle missing," he said.
"It wasn't difficult to realise that."
But Mr Work has no plans to dwell on the loss of his beloved spud.
"Naturally, as you would be, I was shocked, but as soon as I was down there I just moved on straight away," he said.
"What's done is done, irrespective of what caused the fire or the low-lifes that were behind it, it is done and you've got to move on."
The future is already on the horizon for Mr Work who has started searching for a new potato.
"I've got events lined up in the diary even for next year and the latter part of this year," he said.
"I'm not one to let people down."
Mr Work has had his potato van for almost 16 years and he has no intention of slowing down.
"I trot around with it inter-state and I think from the response I've got, I've got a good product."
The Potato Works trailer is so loved in the Clarence Valley that Mr Work found a memorial to it when he moved the trailer from Pound Street for the police to inspect.
"When I went to pick it up... there was a posy of flowers, beautiful roses with a rest in peace card," he said.
Mr Work, who is from Ocean Shores near Brunswick Heads, added that he's always loved coming to Grafton.
"I've been coming to Grafton for 16 years and I've always had good support and made friends down there, it's a good city with really good people," he said.
"I just want to thank the people of Grafton for their support.
"Jacaranda is unique... it really stands out, the community should be proud of it and their town."