- Sunday, 22 November 2020 at 10:08 pm
Firefighters were dispatched to the scene just before 7:40am, and arrived within just four minutes.
Initial responding crews noticed smoke and flames issuing from the two storey roof line, and called in for extra resources and an escalated response.
Wearing breathing apparatus for protection from the smoke, firefighters entered the building and began an internal attack.
Their efforts ensured the fire was contained to a second storey staircase area, which was approximately 8 x 6 metres.
The incident was declared under control at 8:21am and the cause is being investigated.
Thankfully, there were no occupants in the building at the time of the fire.
FRV has issued a community advice message for residents in Preston as there is a lot of smoke in the area.
Community members affected by the smoke are advised to close their doors and windows, switch off any reverse cycle air conditioning.
This is a protracted incident and emergency services are expected to remain on scene for some time. Community are advised to keep the roads clear for emergency service vehicles.
High Street remains closed between Bell and Gower Streets.
At the height of the fire there were approximately 34 firefighters on scene on board 10 firefighting appliances, including a rescue and two aerial units.
FRV was also supported by Victoria Police and Ambulance Victoria.