Quick actions prevented shopping centre fire from spreading
IF NOT for the quick actions of shoppers to call 000, Pialba Place could have been up in flames.
The Hervey Bay shopping centre was evacuated about 10.15am on Sunday after smoke was seen coming from Giovanni's Pizza Bar.
Emergency crews smashed the restaurant's glass door to gain access and quickly brought the fire under control.
Crews spent the morning ventilating the premises and checking if the fire had spread to other shops in the centre.
Fire investigator John Pappas said there was potential for the entire shop tenancy to catch fire if not for the actions of shoppers who called emergency services.
"It was a small fire in the tenancy that produced a lot of smoke, and was easy to control, (but) the quick actions of people passing to notify 000 has definitely minimised damage," Mr Pappas said.
The pizza bar sustained damage from the smoke and flames, while other businesses had minor smoke damage.
No-one was injured.
Firefighters used ladders to check the roof of the building for fire spread due to exhaust fans in the shop.
"Due to the nature of the call involving a shopping centre, the response was upgraded to include additional resources from Craignish and Maryborough, including the Operations Support Unit," Mr Pappas said.
One witness who works at a nearby business said she called the fire brigade after a customer reported heavy smoke coming from the neighbouring pizza restaurant.
Another shopper told the Chronicle she thought it was a standard fire drill when the alarm went off, before being told to evacuate because of the smoke. Investigations into the cause of the fire are continuing.