Flemington Racecourse hotel burns down

The Flemington Racecourse Hotel in Melbourne, which is a known haunt for squatters, has been destroyed by fire.

A fire broke out at the disused hotel, across the road from the Flemington Racecourse, just after 9pm (AEST) on Wednesday and took about two hours to put out.

About 50 firefighters fought the blaze but they have not been able to enter the smouldering shell because of a partial roof collapse.

At one stage the radiant heat of the fire, which has been listed as suspicious, melted nearby overhead tram lines.

Metropolitan Fire Brigade spokesman Trevor Woodward said although squatters are known to use it as a shelter, firefighters are fairly confident no one was inside the building at the time of the fire.

He said the hotel was to be torn down for a new apartment development.

Police have taken a 33-year-old man with no fixed address into custody.

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