SEVERAL businesses have been gutted in a suspicious fire on Melbourne's iconic Lygon St, with damage estimated at more than $2 million.
Emergency services were called to the popular restaurant district just before 1am with reports of an explosion and an out-of-control fire.
The blaze started in a two-storey building that had been undergoing renovations for some time.
Explosions were heard as flames ripped through the top floor and spread to a reception centre next door.
A wall collapsed into a laneway at the height of the fire raising concerns over the structural integrity of the entire building housing several businesses.
On the ground floor, a Japanese restaurant below the reception centre was also damaged by fire.
The blaze caused more than $2 million in damage to businesses in Lygon St.
Approximately fifteen people were evacuated from neighbouring homes for their safety and put up at a Travelodge Motel until it was safe for them to return to their homes.
Sixty firefighters took an hour and ten minutes to bring the blaze under control.
MFB crews will remain at the scene for most of the morning to make sure the fire is completely extinguished.
Lygon St has been closed to southbound traffic down to Grattan St and Grattan St has likewise been closed to traffic heading east from Lygon St.
The cause has been deemed as suspicious and police will remain at the scene investigating.
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