Fire guts counselling building in Echuca

ECHUCA firefighters battled a fierce blaze on Hare Street on Thursday.

The fire broke out shortly after noon and smoke could be seen billowing across the central business district.

The building, which housed Country Wide Psychology and Counselling Services, was destroyed in the fire, though employees managed to escape unhurt.

Emergency services arrived quickly and blocked Hare Street between Eyre and Leichardt streets.

Echuca fire brigade captain Mark Hooper was on his way home when he was alerted to the blaze.

‘‘My beeper went off, I saw the smoke and immediately decided we would need back up,’’ Mr Hooper said.

‘‘It was a very ferocious fire, it was well alight when crews arrived.’’

Fire crews from Echuca and Moama were on scene as Echuca police kept crowds back.

Flames could be seen escaping through the roof of the property, causing concern for firefighters.

The fire was contained about 12.45pm, though Mr Hooper said there was still a danger of structural collapse.

While the exact cause of the fire is still being determined, Mr Hooper said the fire was not believed to be suspicious.

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