UPDATED

Fire destroys two buildings, damages third in Merimbula | Photos, Videos

The scene of the fire on Friday morning. Picture: Ben Smyth
The scene of the fire on Friday morning. Picture: Ben Smyth

UPDATED:

4.30PM: The NSW Environment Protection Authority has been investigating potential contamination of Merimbula Lake due to runoff from extinguishing the fire.

A spokesperson from the EPA said the Food Authority had closed the lake for oyster sales until water sampling results came back, as well as the results from tests on the oysters themselves.

11.45AM: Bega Valley Council has asked pedestrians and vehicle drivers to avoid the area where a fire burned two buildings on Market St, Merimbula early this morning.

"People are still trying to walk past the damaged shops which is not the safest route," a council spokesperson said.

"People are asked to walk on the other side (lake side) of Market Street please."

A screenshot of a video taken of the blaze in Merimbula.

A screenshot of a video taken of the blaze in Merimbula.

Council's announcements:

  • Pedestrians and vehicle drivers are asked to avoid the area where possible;
  • A traffic detour is in place - north bound traffic in Market St will detour via Beach St. It is expected that this detour will be in place for some weeks;
  • Barricades are being erected to safely guide pedestrians along Market St;
  • The NSW Environment Protection Authority is investigating potential contamination of the lake due to runoff from extinguishing the fire;
  • NSW Food Authority have been notified; and
  • Local shellfish producers have also been notified.

9AM: Tackle World in Merimbula has been completely destroyed by a fire in the early hours of Friday.

The fire also destroyed the majority of the neighbouring bakery and cut power to much of the town while firefighters fought to contain the early morning blaze.

Fire crews were alerted to the fire around 4.43am by a worker in the bakery, although it's unlcear as to whether the fire started there or in Tackle World, with smoke then flames spreading quickly to the neighbouring store.

Merimbula Fire and Rescue NSW Captain Stephen Holloway said it's believed the fire started towards the rear of the building, but an official investigation would reveal more.

Captain Holloway said by the time the first fire crew arrived the building was fully engulfed in flames.

Merimbula FRNSW was assisted by Merimbula and Pambula Rural Fire Service units, FRNSW crews from Eden and Bega, and the FRNSW Eden Hazmat unit, which helped to contain runoff from entering Merimbula Lake.

At 8.30am, as other shops began opening and the streets were seeing more activity and onlookers, crews were still on scene, but clearing up.

"We had it knocked down and contained by around 5.50am," Captain Holloway said.

"Now we're just dousing any hotspots to make sure it doesn't flare up anywhere."

Of initial concern to firefighters was the suggestion there may have been munitions on site.

"But it's only the camping store that has those," Captain Holloway said, obviously relieved on behalf of his colleagues.

Video: Clo Adele

Captain Holloway said there were no reported injuries.

However, Tackle World is completely destroyed and the bakery around 70 per cent burnt out. Smoke was also vented out of Westpac, but at this stage it doesn't appeared fire-damaged.

Power was cut to much of the Merimbula CBD during the incident, but has been restored to everywhere bar the small isolated sector at the burnt stores.

Video: Clo Adele

8.30AM: Two buildings, including Tackle World, were burnt down in a fire in Merimbula overnight.

The buildings on Market St was reportedly in flames in the early hours of Friday, May 10, with an additional building also damaged.

NSW Rural Fire Service community safety officer Marty Webster said they had received the first calls on the incident by 4am that morning.

He said Fire and Rescue was the lead agency responding to the blaze which sent units from Eden, Merimbula and Bega to attend, while the RFS had five units in support.

Video: Imani Dilworth

By 8.30am that morning, Fire and Rescue were still on the scene although the fire had been contained.

Mr Webster said the organisations were not aware of how the fire started at this stage, and Fire and Rescue would most likely be conducting the investigation.

He said no injuries or deaths had been reported to RFS.

Emergency services were on the scene of the fire at Market St, Merimbula by 5am. Picture: Chloe Louise James

Emergency services were on the scene of the fire at Market St, Merimbula by 5am. Picture: Chloe Louise James

Emergency services were on the scene of the fire at Market St, Merimbula by 5am. Picture: Chloe Louise James

Emergency services were on the scene of the fire at Market St, Merimbula by 5am. Picture: Chloe Louise James

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