POLICE are investigating a suspicious fire which destroyed one building and severely damaged another at Warrnambool's Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village early this morning.
The Warrnambool Examiner newspaper print shop was destroyed and the adjoining fire station was damaged in the blaze which took hold about 1.15am.
Sergeant Chris Moloney of Warrnambool Police said the fire was being treated as suspicious.
"We're waiting on an arson chemist to come down from Melbourne. A crime scene has been established."
Resident Rob Quantrelle rushed to the tourist attraction with his wife Sally after noticing the fire from his nearby Timor Street home.
Arriving home late after a night out, Mr Quantrelle said he first saw a plume of smoke and saw red lights coming from the direction of the village.
"I thought they might have been testing the sound and light show. Then I looked again and thought it looked like a fire.
"We were one of the first ones there. There was a lot of smoke and it was clearly ablaze.
Mr Quantrelle said the Country Fire Authority would have had difficult accessing the site because of the cobblestone lanes in the village.
Tourism services manager Peter Abbott said the fire came coincidentally as the Examiner celebrated its 140th anniversary on Wednesday.
"Thanks to local CFA for turning out and restricting fire to this one area of the village," Mr Abbott said.
He said it would be business as usual at Flagstaff Hill today.
"Business will open at 9am and the school holiday program as well as the Shipwrecked sound and laser show are continuing as normal."