INVESTIGATIONS are continuing into a fire that destroyed Daylesford’s Boathouse Cafe on Saturday night.
The building was burnt to the ground after flames were sparked in the kitchen just before 11pm.
CFA crews battled the blaze late into the night but were unable to salvage any part of the weatherboard structure.
Daylesford CFA captain David Walker said there was no apparent cause of the fire but flames were believed to have broken out in the kitchen before igniting the gas main.
Mr Walker said the building would have to be demolished in the next day or so.
Hepburn Shire mayor Bill McClenaghan said the iconic cafe would be a big loss for Daylesford and the region.
He said the building – which was owned by council – would be assessed for insurance.
“We’ll get a report on the legal situation and the insurance situation, then we can assess plans on potentially rebuilding in the future,” he said.
The lease on the cafe, which has operated at the site for more than 20 years, was due to be reviewed soon by the council.
Cr McClenaghan said he estimated it would cost more than $1 million to rebuild.
“Nobody’s a winner out of the fire. We’ve lost a very prominent building for the district,” he said.
“The ideal situation will be down the track that the powers that be will rebuild it.”
Daylesford Book Barn manager Kathleen Carter said she rushed to the scene on Saturday night but the cafe was already alight.
“There were heaps of fire trucks, I thought it was the Book Barn on fire at first and I came running down," she said.
"It was all pretty crazy. There were huge flames that kept going until well into the night.”