'Everything is gone': Raging fire at iconic Melbourne market leaves traders devastated

Mel Buttigieg and Kaitlyn Offer

It took more than 60 firefighters more than six hours to control a large blaze at an iconic Melbourne market.

Huge flames caused substantial damage to Footscray's Little Saigon Market, reducing traders to tears as they watched the complex go up in flames on Tuesday morning.

The popular Vietnamese-style market full of small stalls selling fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, cakes, and other goods, has been destroyed.

The livelihood of traders at a Footscray market went up in flames in a huge blaze at the building on Tuesday morning. Pictures: 7 News
More than 60 firefighters battled the fire at the iconic Little Saigon Market in Melbourne's west. Picture: 7 News

The top level of the building was gutted, which housed the Les Twentyman Foundation, where about 6000 text books and Christmas presents were collected for disadvantaged families.

The tens of thousands of dollars worth of goods destroyed will be huge blow for those families relying on the service this Christmas and to get back to school in the New Year.

“It’s not just a building that’s gone but people’s livelihood in a critical time,” Mr Twentyman told the Herald Sun.

A devastated trader, who wished to remain unnamed, said the cost of his recent shop renovations forced him to sleep in his car.

“Everything is gone, everything I’ve worked for,” he said.

Thick black smoke billowing across Nicholson Street forced road closures and prompted a warning to residents to close doors and windows and turn off air conditioners. Pictures: 7 News

Traders were reportedly unpacking their produce in preparation for the day's market when the building's fire alarm sounded just after 6am.

The MFB arrived at the scene shortly after, with the crew trying to control the fire.

"It appears the fire began in the cool room area of the premises and quickly took hold, engulfing the building," the MFB said in a statement.

"It's believed no one was inside at the time."

Thick black smoke billowing across Nicholson Street forced road closures and prompted a warning to residents to close doors and windows and turn off air conditioners.

Nicholson Street, Ryan Street, Leeds Street, Donald Street and Byron Street are all closed and Route 82 trams have been stopped at Droop Street.

Earlier on Tuesday morning, a fire destroyed a brick house in Meadow Heights.

It took 25 firefighters about 30 minutes to bring the fire under control and the damage bill is expected to be more than $250,000.

The busy morning for MFB crews continued at Box Hill, where a home became damaged after flames were seen shooting through the roof.

Firefighters were called to the Harrison Street home at 10am and stopped the fire from spreading within 40 minutes, saving the properties on either side of the house.

A severe fire danger is also on place across the north of the state, with total fire bans in force in the Mallee, Wimmera and Northern Country.