The former Sarina RSL was destroyed by fire. Picture: Queensland Ambulance Service

The former Sarina RSL in North Queensland has been destroyed by fire, months after it was sold to a not-for-profit organisation and two years after the club shut its doors for good.

Fire crews were called to the small community club to extinguish the blaze but the building was reduced to ashes.

It had been undergoing renovations after being sold earlier this year to not-for-profit group Selectability, an NDIS supplier of mental health and suicide support services. 

Queensland Fire and Emergency spokesman said it was likely the fire started in the venue’s kitchen.

The building had formerly served as the town’s RSL headquarters for 60 years but was unable to surmount the challenges of the pandemic.

“The past few years we didn’t have enough support to stay open and COVID put the nail in the coffin,” former President of Sarina RSL Ronald Gurnett told the ABC. “We’ll start a new sub-branch hopefully in the near future.”

The closure was finalised in November 2020, at the Sarina RSL’s annual general meeting, with the land sold to service an Australian Tax Office debt of close to a million dollars.

Sarina RSL was used as a centre to treat veterans in the region for post-traumatic stress disorder and highlighted the special place an RSL club holds for many veterans.

Sarina RSL joins a list of RSLs across Queensland that have closed their doors including in Mareeba, Mount Isa and Mackay.

It took 12 crews to battle the blaze at the former Sarina RSL. Picture: Queensland Ambulance Service

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