Community rallies to support lost businesses
MARINO and Yvonne Roberto watched from the car park of the Whitsunday Shopping Centre as fire tore through their beloved deli: the second time in as many years.
Their daughter from the Gold Coast had called to say the complex was on fire about 7pm Sunday night.
"Marino didn't even have time to put his shoes on. We just ran to the car, our hearts were going crazy, just hoping it wasn't us," Yvonne said.
Marino and Yvonne had been through this before.
Two years ago, an electrical fire burned their deli to the ground. Having no insurance, they have only recently managed to get back on their feet.
When arriving at the scene, Yvonne said it was a relief at first to see smoke coming out of the Target Country building.
"We were hoping it wasn't going to affect anyone else. At the same time we were really worried because we had been through it before.
"You just think 'no that can't happen again'.
"At first you are in shock, then you kind of wrap your head around it and get on with it."
Yvonne said she and Marino had been overwhelmed by the support of the Whitsunday community following their loss.
"There are so many nice people and we have had so many offers from all sorts of people and all sorts of ideas and it's pretty amazing.
"So that makes you feel good again."
Marino's was insured but at this stage the immediate future of the deli and its seven staff is uncertain.
Yvonne said there were "no issues" with the insurance claim but she couldn't even imagine how long it would take "to get the building back up".
"It is going to be a very long process."
And a long time for the seven staff of Marino's to be without an income.
Yvonne said some of their staff had been with them for more than 10 years and she was concerned how they were going to support their families in the coming months.
Access to the site of the fire had been restricted by the Whitsunday Police while insurance investigators and Queensland Fire and Rescue investigators surveyed the rubble. On Monday afternoon, police eliminated the possibility the fire had been deliberately lit and declared the site no longer a crime scene.
March 7, 2014: The deli was destroyed by an electrical fire.
July 2014: Marino's Deli reopens in the Whitsunday Shopping Centre.
April 3, 2016: Marino's is burnt to the ground a second time.