A MAJOR hardware outlet in Lautoka was completely destroyed in a late night fire on Monday.
According to witnesses, the fire started around 10pm.
The extensive structure belonged to Reddy Dimond Group of Companies.
Firefighters had to work hard to contain the blaze and prevent it from spreading to nearby businesses, including a Punjas warehouse.
Shri Krishna, a general manager with the Punjas Group, said the fire had quickly spread within a short period of time.
"When I arrived, it was an inferno and the fire had spread very quickly," said Mr Krishna.
"We could hear loud explosions from inside the building and there was a strong wind coming in from the sea so that kind of made the fire worse."
He said while it was unfortunate that the Neritak Equipment and Reddy Dimond Northern Ltd buildings were completely destroyed, Lautoka residents were grateful the fire was contained by firefighters.
"Credit should be given to the firefighters who came out because they managed to contain the fire from spreading to other warehouses.
"Our building would have been destroyed if they did not contain the fire."
Reddy Dimond Group of Companies director Ram Reddy was still in a state of shock when speaking to the media yesterday.
"I don't know what else to say, just that we lost a lot in this fire," he said.
"When I arrived about half an hour after the fire started, it was already an inferno and most of the building was gone."
He said they would wait for fire authorities to complete investigations before determining how much they lost in the blaze.
Police West spokeswoman Naina Ragigia confirmed police had started investigations into the fire.
She said in a statement police and fire officials would revisit the scene for this purpose.
Meanwhile, another fire which occurred about 6pm in Nadi on Monday night destroyed a building. According to Ms Ragigia, the destroyed building belonged to Nationwide Services Limited.
She said police and fire officers rushed to the scene but failed to save the building.