A structural fire has caused damage to several businesses at a Mount Clear shopping centre overnight.
Ballarat firefighting crews were paged to a reported fire at Midvale Shopping Centre at the corner of Whitehorse Road and Geelong Road about 10.40pm on Saturday night.
When the first crews arrived, a tobacconist shop was engulfed in flame and the fire had spread to the two adjoining businesses, a bakery and a gym.
Eight appliances attended the incident and the fire was brought under control in about 20 minutes, with crews remaining at the scene until about 2am on Sunday morning.
The fire was mainly contained to the one shop but adjoining buildings suffered smoke and water damage.
Ballarat Fire Brigade captain Mark Cartledge said crews also investigated the roof space of the shopping centre to make sure the fire had not spread further.
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"The fire was brought under control pretty quickly by crews, but we were unsure what fire extension there was in the roof, so we had to investigate the roof space because we had smoke appearing out of basically the whole roof. We got the hydraulic ladder platform from Fire Rescue Victoria Station 67 to come out and investigate the roof space," he said.
"Most shops in the near vicinity of where the fire was had some smoke impact - the post office, the chicken shop and an empty shop there had smoke impact or smoke throughout the buildings.
"At the height of the incident, we had members from Sebastopol Fire Brigade, Buninyong-Mount Helen Fire Brigade, Fire Rescue Victoria, Victoria Police and Powercor and the local gas company were also notified."
Five people were evacuated from the gym, but there were no injuries and the cause of the fire was still under investigation.
"I believe the gym is a 24-hour gym, so there were a couple of gentlemen in the gym at the time of the fire. They evacuated straight away and met our first fire crews on-scene and had a chat with them. No injuries to anyone, just damage to the building," Captain Cartledge said.
"The cause is still undetermined and under investigation. It was a really good job done by all fire crews on-site to bring the fire under control very quickly and contain it to the small area that they did."
Following the fire, some businesses in the shopping centre have been forced to close due to the damage.
Stewart's Bakery posted on social media that it would be temporarily closed after suffering severe damage.
"We are heartbroken to let you know that due to a fire that started in an adjoining building our beloved bakery as been severely damaged. Therefore our business will be temporarily closed," the post said.
"We are grateful that we were not operating last night when it happened and that all of our staff are safe. We look forward to your support in the future as we rebuild and reopen."
Fire Investigators are currently at the site checking the cause of the fire and extent of damage.
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