THE Hastings community is shocked by the senseless overnight vandalism that has left the town's Marine Rescue headquarters and beachside kiosk severely damaged by fire.
NSW Fire and Rescue firefighters were called to reports of a building fire at Town Beach around 2am on Thursday, September 12.
Fourteen firefighters extinguished the fire within 30 minutes. It started in the female amenities area and was contained before spreading to other parts of the building.
The fire is being treated as suspicious.
Marine Rescue Port Macquarie unit commander Greg Davies said radio staff are still operating but have moved to the Port Macquarie boat shed.
"The radio base is fully operational with members now operating out of the boat shed in Westport," said Mr Davies.
"The boating community can still log on by contacting us on channel 16 and it's business as usual for them.
"There is no time frame for us to get back in there. When all the work is complete and the base is fully functional members will be able to return.
"I'd say it will be (expensive to fix), but Port Macquarie-Hastings Council is doing a great job to get us back on the radio at Town Beach as soon as possible."
The state of the art Marine Rescue Port Macquarie radio base is a first class facility. It was officially opened in February 2017 by Marine Rescue NSW Commissioner Stacey Tannos.
It is home to Marine Rescue Port Macquarie and Salty Crew Kiosk and is a feature on the beachfront.
The facility provides up to date technology and fit-out for Marine Rescue members to carry out their responsibilities and keep people on the water safe.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council spent $396,000 on the building upgrade.
Marine Rescue Port Macquarie completed the fit-out of its section of the building at a cost of about $300,000. The state government provided $40,000 towards the radio base fit-out.
Salty Crew Kiosk will be closed as staff clean up and will reopen on September 13, according to owner Chris Harris.
He described the incident as "very disappointing" and "out of the ordinary".
A NSW Police spokesperson said a crime scene has been established at the building.
"Detectives from Mid North Coast Police District and crime scene examiners are currently on scene investigating the cause of the blaze," they said.
"The amenities block (is) significantly damaged, and other parts of the building impacted by smoke.
"Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Port Macquarie Police on 6583 0199 or to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000."
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