Firies stop shattered owner running into business inferno
A COMMERCIAL building has gone up in flames this morning at Maroochydore.
Firefighters were called to the complex on Trinder Ave at 2.12am, a Queensland Fire and Emergency Services spokesman said.
The single-storey building, consisting of eight stores, was "well alight" when firefighters arrived.
Acting Maroochydore Area Commander Geoff Hunter said smoke and flames were issuing from the building when crews arrived just before 2.20am.
"We've got a TV shop, hydraulics and part of St Vinnies, so it's quite a long building and it's gone right through to the back," he said.
"We've had 37 firefighters on scene and police have evacuated three houses at the rear of the building in case of smoke travel and structural collapse.
"With the heat inside, there was always that possibility that the building may suffer structural collapse.
A QFES spokesman said firefighters had the blaze under control by about 4.05am.
"That's quite a long time fighting fires," he said.
Witnesses have reported the owner of Sunland TV Services, which was most effected by the fire, was extremely upset when he arrived early this morning. He reportedly attempted to gain access to his store, having to be escorted away by firefighters.
"He came here and he looked quite devastated, and he was escorted away from the scene," Mr Hunter said.
"Obviously he wanted to get close to it, which he couldn't do in case he got injured.
"He was quite upset."
Firefighters managed to keep the neighbouring building from being damaged.
"We've sort of cut it off halfway down the building to stop it going right through St Vinnies, so it's quite a difficult fire to contain," Mr Hunter said.
"The building next door was protected with cover lines ... so that's in good condition, it hasn't spread there."
Windy conditions have stopped crews from completely extinguishing the fire.
"Just on daylight the wind picked up ... increased the fire volume again," Mr Hunter said.
"That was a bit of a problem, but now we've knocked it down and just dampened down hot spots.
"We almost had it under control ... and it became a ventilated fire generated by the wind, rather than the gases inside."
Fire investigators will arrive this morning to determine the cause of the blaze.
"We're going to have fire investigators attend, and the QPS will be interested in the cause as well. But at this stage, it's under investigation," Mr Hunter said.
Trinder Ave has been blocked off halfway down the street, forcing staff from neighbouring offices to park elsewhere and walk through the scene to get to work.