Wintergarden arson suspected
THE abandoned Wintergarden Theatre in Rockhampton staged a dramatic fire scene yesterday after a suspicious blaze was lit in the old Alma Street building.
Police launched an arson investigation into the fire, which damaged a room at the back of the heritage-listed theatre.
Fire investigators told The Morning Bulletin the offender or offenders had forced entry into the back of the building.
It was established early after the blaze that it was suspicious because there had been no electricity supply to the theatre for months.
A nearby business owner raised the alarm about 7.15am after seeing smoke.
Within minutes fire crews were on scene and the blaze was extinguished shortly after 8am.
Firefighters searched the building, which was vacant at the time.
Ventilation fans were used at the rear of the theatre to force out smoke trapped inside.
A crime scene was set up around the theatre yesterday morning while scenes of crime officers photographed the damaged areas.
Police did a door knock of nearby businesses.
Anyone with information that could help police should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
The site where the Wintergarden Theatre sits has been untouched for the past 18 months.
A high-rise residential and hotel development is planned for the site.
In August the developer told The Morning Bulletin the plans included two underground floors of car parking, a retail level on top facing Bolsover Street and residential apartments, we well as an apartment hotel.