Two fires in Ballina on Tuesday evening may be connected say detectives from the Richmond Police District.
About 10.45pm on Tuesday, 30 July emergency services were called to a vehicle fire on Owen Street, Ballina. Crews from Fire and Rescue NSW arrived and extinguished the blaze.
However, a short time later, crews were called to the Ballina Netball clubhouse about 100m away at Missingham Park following reports of a building fire.
Police reported that Fire and Rescue NSW extinguished the flames and that, ‘it’s understood the building has sustained damage estimated at $50,000’.
‘There were several fires in the area at the same time and it looks like an accelerant was used on the clubhouse so the police have said it looks like foul play,’ said Helen Hanslow, Ballina Netball Association public relations officer.
A crime scene was established to determine the cause of the blazes. Police believe these incidents may be linked and are treating them as suspicious.
‘This will impact us for several years and there will be significant costs in the interim period like getting the electrical work done; for example the power for the lights at the courts came through the clubhouse. Council is working closely with us in relation to power, rewiring our PA, arranging temporary housing and hiring portaloos. It’s going to cost a fair bit of money to get us through.
‘We’ve has a great deal of support from the local community, Netball Associations across the state, other local sporting clubs, businesses and individuals. It is just lovely to have such a great community around us and we’ll certainly need them,’ Ms Hanslow told Echonetdaily.
Sunday carnival cancelled
Initially the Ballina Netball Association said they would push ahead with the Sunday netball carnival but on reflection have decided to postpone the event.
‘It’s only been 24 hours and it is going to take time to get our heads around what all this really means,’ said Ms Hanslow.
‘The Saturday competition is going ahead as normal but carnival day will be postponed. On a carnival day there are 7-800 people there all day that need drinks and to be fed; with no canteen we didn’t have time to organise it all.
‘We decided to postpone it and run it some time in September because then it can be part of a celebration.’
A little help
If you think you might be able to help the club get back on their feet you can get in touch through Ballina Netball Associations Facebook page or email them at [email protected]
‘We are currently looking at what we need in terms of help. In the short term we will most likely be working out of a tent and we really need two big eskys for the Saturday competition and games over the next couple of weeks to keep drinks, ice for injured players and food cold.,’ Ms Hanslow said.