UPDATE, 12.15PM: The Hut cafe in Centre Point Arcade will be closed for at least two to three weeks following Sunday’s fire.
Cafe owner Stuart Beynon said there was extensive smoke damage to the cafe and all plant and equipment such as fridges and cool rooms would have to be checked for smoke contamination.
He said the cafe could be closed for longer than three weeks, which came at its busiest time of the year, if it had be repainted.
Mr Beynon said the fire was “a kick in the guts” after the works to upgrade Liebig Street had significantly reduced the cafe’s trade for the past nine months.
He expected the fire would cost his business, which employs at least eight people, tens of thousands of dollars.
UPDATE, 11.23AM: Damage to Warrnambool’s Centre Point Arcade was mainly confined to smoke and water, one of the arcade tenants said.
Will Jane, who runs the Jane Dough bakery in the arcade, said he believed there was no structural damage to the arcade.
He said there had been minimal smoke damage to his premises that would be inspected by a health inspector later today.
He hoped to reopen the bakery soon after giving it a good clean.
Mr Jane said the Hut cafe, across the arcade from his premises, had been more affected by smoke damage.
EARLIER: The Centre Point Arcade from Liebig Street through to the Coles car park is closed today after a fire in the arcade on Sunday morning.
The closure has shut down The Hut cafe and bakery Jane Dough.
A strong smell of smoke hung around the Liebig Street and Coles car park entrances to the arcade today.
Occupants above the arcade were evacuated from the building on Sunday morning after the fire was reported at 10.34 am.
It is not known whether they have been able to return to the building.
Police investigations are continuing into the fire which firefighters said started in an alcove near a display of public artwork.
Police said the fire might be linked to another fire in the Gilles Street toilet block on Saturday where a young male on a bike was seen setting fire to toilet rolls and throwing them into the toilet.
That fire was extinguished by a passer by.