FIRE has destroyed a 19th century shop that was being converted into a home in Dunolly’s main street early Saturday morning.
The blaze was believed to have been sparked by a faulty light fitting before engulfing the Broadway property that was vacant at the time.
Flames threatened nearby shops and embers spread to the roof of the building next door.
Neighbours rushed to help put the fire out just after 1am and said they were heartbroken for the owner who had been renovating the store for a number of years to convert it into a residence. Staff at the Royal Hotel three doors down said the flames could be seen through the whole street and had the potential to be far worse.
Andrew Hoban from Dunolly Quality Meats said he ran to the scene when he heard the sirens.
“I thought it was my butcher on fire,” he said.
“I don’t live far away, I got down there and the firefighters were trying to contain it. With such an old building it just burnt so quickly.”
The owner of the property had spent four years turning the shop front that was built in 1864 into a home.
Nothing salvageable was left in the home and the damage bill was estimated to be at least $150,000.
A CFA spokeswoman said firefighters controlled the fire within an hour.
She praised the quick thinking of a neighbour, who promptly called the fire brigade after spotting smoke coming from the building.
“It was quite lucky it wasn’t worse,” she said. “The fire was starting to spread into the roof of the shop next door, but by that stage the crews were onto it.”