Wednesday April 14, 4.24PM: Police have confirmed they are investigating the circumstances of this morning’s Apollo Bay fire.
Colac criminal investigators have called on any locals with information regarding the incident, or footage such as from mobile phones or dashcams, to come forward and assist investigations.
People can also call CrimeStoppers, or lodge a confidential online report with the agency.
8.40am: Specialist fire detectives will investigate the cause of a devastating Apollo Bay fire that destroyed main street food shops and caused evacuations from nearby motels.
The fire started at Apollo Surfcoast Chinese, Collingwood Street about 3am this morning before spreading to the next-door Blue Bird restaurant, destroying both businesses.
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The Wild Dog Home Timber and Hardware store behind the shops was also heavily damaged. Hazmat crews are on scene to deal with chemicals from the store that could cause health risks as a result of the fire.
Responders evacuated about 20 guests from the 35-room Comfort Inn Motel with no injuries reported.
Local fire brigades and support crews from Geelong helped battle the blaze for three hours, with firies using ladders and platforms to extinguish flames.
CFA district six commander Mark Gunning said the swift response of emergency services prevented the blaze from causing even more damage.
“Just after 3am a restaurant fire in Apollo Bay spread to an adjoining fish and chip shop and an adjoining hardware store next door, totally destroying the food shops and extensively damaging the hardware store,” he said.
“It took about three hours to bring under control. It was a great save, it did actually threaten more shops than that but was brough under control really quickly.
“The adjoining motel had 35 rooms evacuated, with no injuries reported.
“The cause is under investigation; fire investigators will be on scene later this morning.”
Apollo Bay police Sergeant Damian Bould said emergency services would remain in the area for several hours today.
“We expect the recovery process and investigation to take some time,” he said.
“Please avoid the area if possible.”