A suspicious fire at a Doreen community hall on Wednesday night is under investigation.

Doreen CFA was called to the fire at the Laurimar Community Centre on Hazelglen Drive shortly after 11.30pm.

Captain Chris Maries said that crew arrived to find a meeting room alight and forced their way into the building.

 

He said the fire had caused significant damage, estimating the repair bill to be between $80,000-$100,000.

“The special timber floor to the dance studio is beyond repair. All the walls and ceilings in that room will have to be replaced,” Mr Maries said.

“The walls, ceilings and raised entry to the hall will have to be replaced and there is smoke damage.”

Mr Maries said crews worked quickly to stop the fire spreading to other parts of the building, including Jojayz Cafe.

However, he said the fire had left the cafe without power.

Mr Maries said there was “strong evidence of malicious activity”, with the blaze referred to Victoria Police for investigation.

It is expected that the centre will be closed for some time.