A fire last week at the Marlin Bar and Grill has delayed renovations there but it was still possible that the restaurant could reopen at the start of October as originally planned.
Manager Helen Rowling was in Hamilton on Wednesday last week when she got the call that the Marlin Bar, on Wallis Street by the wharf, was on fire.
Contractors had been painting at the restaurant, which had closed after Easter, getting it ready for the planned October 1 reopening.
An existing potbelly fireplace inside the building was “experimentally lit” to help dry the paint.
Neither Helen nor the contractors realised the flue, which was attached to a firebox in the ceiling, had been cut off at roof level and roofing iron put on top.
This meant the potbelly worked initially, but then created a fire in the ceiling.
The Fire Service was alerted about 4.15pm and three fire engines responded quickly. They were able to remove the roofing iron over the fire and put it out.
The fire caused damage to the electrical system and about 20 to 30 percent of the roof.
“Now the insurance have to ascertain what the damage is – it’s anywhere between $10,000 and $50,000, so it’s put us back,” Helen said. “We can’t carry on ‘til we know how they want to proceed with the repairs.”
However, Helen was optimistic and hoping to still open on October 1.
“We just have to keep calm and carry on,” she laughed.
The Marlin Bar was owned by local farmers Susan and Noel Bamber. They took over the restaurant in January from Ofa Akavola, who had owned it for 17 years with partner Kevin Bowering.