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Margaret Morgan and Pat Murphy outside the fire damaged Murphy House (The Southern Cross)

A fire that caused extensive damage to the interior of an Adelaide parish building has left two local community groups wondering how they can continue to serve the disadvantaged. Source: The Southern Cross. 

The fire occurred in the early hours of February 7 in Murphy House, which is adjacent to Our Lady of Victories Church in Glenelg.

South Australian Police said firefighters were able to extinguish the fire before it could spread, but it caused significant damage.

“The fire was believed to have been deliberately lit and Fire Cause Investigators attended the scene,” the SAPOL statement said.

“As a result of investigations, Western District CIB arrested a 59-year-old man of no fixed address for arson.”

Parish priest Fr John Herd said SAPOL had informed him that the man was in remand. “We pray for him and hope things work out for him,” he wrote in the parish bulletin.

Murphy House, built in 1904, is used by the Glenelg parish sewing group and St Vincent de Paul Society conference for storage and sorting of non-perishable food and donated items.

Glenelg Vinnies conference president Margaret Morgan said the pantry was the worst-affected area and in excess of $1000 worth of donated food and other items were destroyed.

“I can’t quantify the value of knitted beanies and crocheted rugs made by members of the community, and there were also a lot of toys left over from our Christmas Appeal that were waiting to be picked up by Circle of Friends for refugee families,” she said.

The Sewing Group usually meets weekly at Murphy House. Established in 1969, the group now comprises a group of five women who make more than 350 items of children’s clothing each year for distribution through Vinnies shops.

The group’s convenor, Pat Murphy, said there were three overlockers and five sewing machines in the room, and she was waiting to learn if any of them could be salvaged from the smoke and water damage.

Money can be donated via by putting “Glenelg Fire Appeal” in the comment box.


Glenelg blaze destroys donations (By Jenny Brinkworth, The Southern Cross)