ONE of the last standing historic buildings in Corop has been destroyed.
The former Presbyterian church burnt to the ground at 5.30am on Thursday, December 28 after igniting the day before.
CFA District 20 operations officer John Cutting said seven trucks from five brigades responded to the initial call, just after 5.15pm on the Wednesday.
Firefighters struggled with the water supply as the firefight needed more water than the town’s mains could supply.
“That does happen in small towns,” Mr Cutting said.
After a two-hour battle with the blaze firefighters left the scene before the fire re-ignited overnight.
He estimated it had been about 30 years since the building was last used as a church.
A Victoria Police spokesman said emergency services responded to the fire at the corner of Lake Cooper Road and Tennis Court Road and found the building well alight.
‘‘No one was in the building at the time,’’ the spokesman said.
‘‘The cause of the fire is yet to be determined, however police are not treating it as suspicious at this stage.
‘‘The investigation is ongoing.’’
‘Corop – The cry of the Brolga’ Facebook page moderator Edie May said it was ‘‘devastating’’ to lose such a historic building.
“It will look very empty in that space,” she said.
“It will be a tooth missing.
‘‘The timber structure was built about 150 years ago, following the arrival of William Taylor from Northern Ireland.
“He was instrumental in having the Presbyterian church built.
“Previously the other churches shared a building previously used as the creamery, then moved to the town hall.”
All but one of the town’s historical buildings have become private dwellings.
“The store is still running – it’s the local post office – but it certainly has had a revamp,” she said.
The former pub, school and Methodist church have all been converted into homes.
Ms May said it was a ‘‘tragedy’’ the church was now gone.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au