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Preston High Street shop fire being treated as suspicious

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A fire that tore through a building in Melbourne’s northern suburbs is being treated as suspicious, police say, after it took almost three hours to bring the blaze under control and nearby residents were forced to evacuate.

Sixty firefighters responded to the blaze on High Street in Preston, which broke out in an empty former furnishings store near the corner of Bell Street just after 3am on Saturday.

A vacant former furnishings store has been engulfed in flames overnight.Credit:Chris Vedelago

After receiving a number of triple zero calls, firefighters arrived within four minutes to find the large single storey building ablaze, according to a spokesman for Fire Rescue Victoria.

About 50 residents from an adjacent apartment complex were evacuated due to the threat posed by the fire, the spokesman said.

No one was injured, but smoke clouded streets more than 150 metres away from the fire.

Police are treating it as suspicious. An arson chemist was due to attend the scene on Saturday afternoon.

The fire appeared to have gutted the premises, which had been undergoing renovations at the time.

The blaze was brought under control just before 6am, but crews remained on scene for several hours to ensure the fire was extinguished.



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