BANGALOW’S main street remains closed after two shops were razed in the historic village early this morning.
Firefighters were on the scene minutes after receiving the call and managed to prevent the fire engulfing the entire block of heritage shop fronts.
The Urban Cafe and the neighbouring boutique business, Miller and More, were completely destroyed as 41 firefighters work relentlessly for an hour to bring the blaze under control.
Four residential flats above the shops were safely evacuated by police who were quickly on the scene.
The NSW Fire Brigade’s Northern Rivers duty commander, Inspector Jeff Roche, said it was an exceptionally intense fire causing one firefighter to be hospitalised for heat stress.
Exhausted crews were still mopping up at 10am to enable investigators from the Police Forensic Unit and the NSW Fire Brigade to begin examining the crime scene.
"Firefighters did a great job preventing the fire spreading into the row of terraces as that has one big common roof void," Insp Roche said.
"If the fire had got in there that whole row of shops would have disappeared.
"Right now we’re methodically going through the surrounding premises and ventilating them to remove all the smoke and making sure it’s safe for people to return."
Peak hour traffic was diverted along Deacon Street and police expect Byron Street to be reopened this afternoon.