More than 20 fire crews are battling an intense fire that has fully engulfed a three-storey pub in York Street in South Melbourne.
Police have not commented on reports that two men wearing balaclavas were seen entering the building before the fire.
Detective Acting Senior Sergeant Dave Cox said a man was attacked when he arrived for work around 6.30am.
It is understood that Collingwood footballer Dane Swan may be a part owner of the club. “The victim has woken up to find the premises ablaze”, the detective told reporters.
The fire quickly expanded to the three floors of the former nightclub, and firemen were forced to rope off the surrounding area for fear of the building collapsing.
“It will be gutted completely, they are trying to hold the building next door”.
The blaze, likely set by a pair of balaclava-clad arsonists, sent plumes of smoke pouring over South Melbourne.
A SITE manager may have been assaulted before a massive fire broke out at a Melbourne pub part-owned by Collingwood and ex-Melbourne Storm players. At this stage there’s been no indication the blaze was part of a threat against the pub’s associates, police say.
“We’ll keep an open mind about what’s happened”, Cox said.
The pub’s Facebook page has been documenting the renovations in the lead up to the opening next week.
The South Melbourne venue was due to reopen on October 16 after six months of renovations.