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Thargomindah rallies after fire destroys store

Remnants of the destroyed Foodworks store in Dowling Street, Thargomindah. Photos contributed

Tricia Duffield

Thargomindah is facing a tough few months ahead following the destruction by fire of its Foodworks grocery store last week.

Like the communities of Bourke and previously Walgett, the razing of the store means residents now face the prospect of reduced supplies and a rebuild of the store. The loss of supplies also puts a dent in the local economy, with tourists and mining workers also dependant on the store.

The fire took hold at about 3am Thursday, with fire crews from Quilpie attending the blaze and crews at Yowah on standby. Investigations into the cause are continuing and while that is still unknown, one thing is without doubt - the store will be re-built, the community will rally and owners Phil and Donna Humphris will make sure Thargo residents don’t go without.

Donna said the destruction of the old building in the main street was quick - and frightening.

“I woke at about 3am to let the dog out, turned the verandah light on and heard this ‘pop pop pop’ sound,” she said. “And then I saw a massive glow and I knew straight away it was a fire and it was our shop.

“My husband Phil was away and my sister was staying with me so after calling him and Triple 0, we drove down the main street and the whole building was gone.

“Once I got over the shock, I decided that as soon as the insurance pays out we will rebuild, because I can’t sit around for the rest of my life.

“Phil and I used to own the motel and we sold that so we could semi-retire, just run the grocery store and maybe travel in our caravan but now, my 100 per cent focus is on the staff, getting the store back up and serving my community,” Donna said.

“It was devastating to wake up to this and not to have a purpose, but we do not walk away from any challenge. We have already spoken to the Council and a builder, but first we just need to sit down and think all of this through.”

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