DEMOLITION of a large part of the former New Norfolk High School hostel is the likely outcome of an arsonist’s attack on the building early this morning (Tuesday). Fire investigators have recently left the scene off Blair St after determining that the blaze was deliberately lit.
Police are now investigating the fire in what they described as an abandoned building. “Emergency services were called to attend the fire around 1am in a vacant building. Tasmania Fire Service extinguished the fire and investigators determined that the fire had been deliberately lit,” a Tasmania Police spokesperson said.
The fire was in the central amenities building of the former Carinya Hostel, destroying a commercial kitchen and adjoining rooms, as well as badly damaging the dining hall. Derwent Valley Council workers are on site making the area secure and the affected area is likely to be demolished.
Built in the 1960s, Carinya has had multiple uses since it ceased being used as accommodation for the children of Hydro families in the Upper Derwent Valley and Central Highlands.
In the late 1980s and into the 1990s it and the neighbouring Tangara Hostel became the Derwent Valley Business Enterprise Centre, providing advice and accommodation for business start-ups. Carinya was later the home of the Derwent Valley Concert Band for a time, and had a brief period as an international college.
The council later leased most of the property from the State Government and renamed the area the Carinya Education Park in 2012. With a council officer on site, training courses were provided and the Derwent Valley Youth Future Action Team was headquartered there. The building was also used as an emergency evacuation centre on several occasions.
In more recent years the council has withdrawn from its use of the property and it has been the subject of ongoing attempts to hand it back to the state government. It has also fallen victim to repeated vandalism attacks. The fire has not affected the Tangara buildings, most of which are occupied by the Derwent Valley Men’s Shed.
Police are investigating the circumstances of the fire and would like to speak to anyone who may have witnessed the fire, or anyone acting suspiciously nearby at the time. Information can be provided to Tasmania Police on 131 444 or report anonymously to CrimeStoppers via www.crimestopperstas.com.au or 1800 333 000.
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