Three Tathra businesses have been “completely destroyed” after a fire raged through their building on Tuesday evening.
Tathra Launderette, Bliss Stylists hairdresser and Little Bottler Tathra Cellars liquor shop were engulfed by the blaze.
The fire began just before 6pm originating in the launderette before spreading to the hairdresser and then the liquor store.
Bega Police chief inspector Anthony Moody said police were notified after a number of people reported smoke coming from the launderette.
“Some passers by went into the building and attempted to put it out before they were forced back out of the building by flames,” he said.
Volunteer firefighters from the Rural Fire Service arrived on the scene at 6:15pm.
Ambulance services were also called to the scene but no one required medical treatment.
In total, 15 firefighters responded to the scene, aided by eight fire trucks.
NSW RFS community safety officer for the Far South Coast Marty Webster said the team undertook defensive firefighting tactics to stop the spread of the fire.
“Our focus was to ensure nearby gas cylinders did not pose a further risk,” he said.
“We were working to keep those cylinders cool so they didn’t vent, if they start to vent it releases gas into the environment which could accelerate the situation.”
Mr Webster said firefighters also had to ensure the crowd was safe from flames, heat and smoke inhalation.
“It’s a really busy intersection and the town is full of tourists at the moment so there were a lot of people we were trying to move on,” he said.
It took less that 30 minutes for firefighters to contain the blaze. By 7:30pm they had declared a patrol status for the area, meaning the fire had been completely extinguished.
Mr Webster said there was significant damage to the building.
“It’s a sad event, a huge loss for the business owners and the town,” he said.
Police detectives visited the scene last night and Bega police maintained a guard overnight to keep the integrity of the crime scene.
A forensic team will examine the scene on Wednesday to determine the cause of the fire.
Inspector Moody urged anyone with further information to call Bega police on 6492 9999.