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Fire caused more than $1.5 million damage to the Gepps Cross Hotel in Adelaide this morning.

Firefighters took more than an hour to extinguish a fire and managed to stop it spreading to the historic part of the hotel.

The sports bar and gaming lounge were gutted by the fire, which broke out around 6am, and threw peak-hour traffic at the Gepps Cross intersection into chaos with roads closed in the immediate area.

Greg Crossman from the Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) said crews used defensive firefighting operations to extinguish the blaze.

“We got numerous triple-0 calls, so there was quite a lot of fire activity very early, so we did have a large fire in the roof of these premises.”

Asbestos in the roof forced firefighters to take extra precautions battling the blaze.

“What we do in our asbestos procedures, we keep the asbestos cladding damp with water and that reduces the actual fibres from emanating into the smoke plume,” Mr Crossman said.

The fire is being blamed on an electrical fault in the roof of the hotel.

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