Goldmines saved as cigarette sparks blaze

THREE residents had a lucky escape after a fire broke out at the Goldmines Hotel Friday morning.

The blaze started on a couch on the historic pub's balcony about 6.05am.

Owner Rick Walduck said a cigarette had smouldered on a couch for several hours before the furniture caught fire.

“We feel blessed,” he said.

“If the building burnt, I’d be emotionally devastated more than financially devastated.

I’d be emotionally devastated more than financially devastated - Rick Walduck

“I really feel that I’m a caretaker for this beautiful building.”

A rear section of the hotel was built in 1857 with the main building constructed in 1872.

The fire charred wooden boards on the verandah but the property was otherwise undamaged.

Mr Walduck, his daughter Larnie and a friend had been asleep in the top section of the hotel.

“The fire came up over the hill on Black Saturday and the wind changed saved us,” Mr Walduck said.

“Maybe the resident ghost turned it around that day and saved us (on Friday).”

CFA senior station officer Darren Eenjes said two people walking past the venue had called triple-0.

“We took three appliances from Bendigo and there were 11 fire fighters,” he said.

“We found that there was a couch on fire on the balcony and three residents still asleep inside on the upper floor.

“We made entry to the hotel to wake and evacuate the three residents who were asleep.

“It was under control in about 30 minutes.”

Marong Road was closed as crews fought the fire.

 “The fast work by fire crews has averted a major fire happening in a beautiful historic building,” Mr Eenjes said.

“And the welfare of the residents was also looked after.

“The quick response of the lady and man walking their dogs to call emergency services has saved the hotel and the residents.” 

Mr Walduck has owned the building for close to three years. 

He said he had long-term plans to revamp sections of the hotel, which is used for functions and live music. 

A message posted on the venue's Facebook page said the venue was "still here and all is okay". 

"Massive thanks to the person walking past who reported the fire and massive huge thanks to the emergency services for their prompt response," the message said.  

"You guys are amazing!"

Mr Walduck said Goldmines was worth about $3 million. 

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