Quick response to fan fire

By Benalla Ensign

A quick-thinking duty manager saved Woolworths Benalla from a potential disaster on Friday after a rooftop extraction fan caught fire.

Store manager Leigh Harman said that thanks to Sue McDonald the alarm was raised quickly and almost 150 customers and staff were evacuated.

‘‘It was a burnt out extraction fan on the roof, it was an electrical fire, there wasn’t actually flames, but there was a lot of smoke, which came down through the vents,’’ Mr Harman said.

‘‘I was really impressed with my duty manager, she did a really good job and had everyone out within a couple of minutes.

‘‘As soon as she saw smoke she phoned the fire brigade and started to get staff and customers out.

‘‘It was a textbook evacuation and couldn’t have been dealt with any better.’’

The CFA was on the scene within minutes and the store was closed to the public for almost an hour while the fire was extinguished.

Safety inspectors were out on Saturday to look at the faulty fan, which will need to be replaced, however, the store has remained open as usual.