A fire that raged through an iconic Queenstown bar is now out.
Firefighters are now in dampening down mode after fighting the fire in Shotover St since 3.30pm.
Sergeant Steve Watt said it appeared the fire developed in the kitchen of the downstairs Fat Badger bar about 3.30pm.
Queenstown, Frankton and Arrowtown fire brigades were quickly on the scene but it became well involved, with flames leaping from the upstairs windows of the World Bar.
Smoke billowed across town from the wooden building as dozens of Shotover St businesses were evacuated and hundreds of people lined the street watching the action.
Sergeant Steve Watt said it was too early to say how many buildings were affected but it was believed some neighbouring offices may be badly smoke damaged.
The cause of the fire was yet to be determined but the wooden frame contributed to the flames.
''I think the dry timber framing certainly added fuel to the fire but the fire guys are doing a good job to try and bring it under control.''
At 5.30pm, Fire Service Central and North Otago area manager Keith McIntosh was flown into Queenstown by helicopter, landed at the recreation ground and headed straight to the scene.
The World Bar marketing manager Chris Barnhart said everyone in the bar escaped safely and were meeting last night.
He declined to comment further.
Retail assistant Kel said she saw ''huge plumes of smoke'' from about 1km away at the Queenstown Gardens and went to see what was happening.
She was devastated to see the World Bar in flames.
''It's a big iconic bar. It does a lot of good for the commnuity. It will be felt by the whole community.
''The fire guys have done an amazing job of containing it because it was a really big fire.''
With all of the local fire appliances involved at the scene, appliances from Cromwell and Alexandra to act as back up in the area.
A fire truck from truck and crew from Invercargill were also on their way.
The World Bar's facebook page has more than 200 comments as fans of the bar worldwide tonight start sharing memories of partying in Queenstown.
The facebook page says ''For those of you that haven't heard yet, unfortunately our beloved World Bar was caught in a monster blaze from an adjacent building this afternoon. It was a pretty huge fire and damage looks to be very severe but we dont know how bad the longterm is. The main things is that everyone is safe from every buidling. But from all the team, thank you to all you diners, revelers and music lovers who have embraced us into your nightly schedule.''
Comments posted include:
Morgan Moore: Canadian tears are being shed. In complete shock. Love you World Bar. But the Phoenix will rise from the ashes!!!! xxxx
Dion Dunlop: Holy cow! Just seen the news. My thoughts are with you Dave and Wardy! Wow wee! What can one say . So many great times , but I am sure the world will be back and better!
Lisa Chambers: Gutting news, glad all are ok, though my heart goes out to TWB QT I have had plenty of awesome nights there.... though not sure I remember them all! Good luck for the re-build xx
Joe Cowie: Glad to hear you guys are all safe! Very sad to hear about the fire at World Bar today. K+Lab and myself will be sending you shout-outs and positive vibes tonight! Much love World Bar crew!
The Southland Times