A FIRE has severely damaged a Portland supermarket in a $4 million overnight blaze.
Police officers raised the alert at 4.38am yesterday , after seeing smoke coming from Daly's Supa IGA supermarket on Percy Street.
Portland fire brigade officer-in-charge Gary Harker said thermal imaging cameras were used to track and then fight the fire which was contained by 7am.
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Co-owner Michael Daly said 100 staff were affected and he planned to rebuild.
"We are devastated,"he said.
Mr Harker said about 50 per cent of the building had been destroyed.
He said the fire is believed to have started in the front section of the supermarket before entering the roof space and spreading throughout the store.
"It's a major structure and half the building has been damaged," he said.
"It was a heavy fire when we arrived and locked up.
"We vented the building and used thermal imaging cameras to locate the fire."
Mr Harker said about 70 firefighters battled the blaze with help from Ballarat and Geelong crews.
He said 25 local firefighters managed to stop the fire from spreading before 45 reinforcements arrived an hour later.
The damage bill was conservatively estimated at more than $4 million, with extensive stock losses expected. Nearby properties were not affected.
“The fire is contained and we’re continuing blacking out and mopping up works.
“The investigation into the cause of the fire will take place this afternoon, but half the building has been gutted,” he said yesterday.