Downtown Ayr was closed off on Saturday night, after a fire broke out at a business near the river.

Fire crews were unable to enter Riverbank Interiors and had to attack the flames through broken windows.

The call came in around 8:30 p.m., and officials say there were no injuries and no one was in the building.

“Upon arrival the building was fully involved in flames and we went defensive immediately,” said North Dumfries Fire Chief Robert Shantz.

The store sold paint, and the smoke caused quite a dramatic scene in the area.

“It’s going to be a total loss on the inside. The main structure is relatively intact due to the age of the structure, very heavy timber construction,” said Shantz.

Firefighters worked diligently to keep the fire from spreading to a nearby business, and to stop any spray paint with lacquer from exploding,

‘Thankfully we did hit it fast enough with the water that there was no cans that were exploding,” said Shantz.

By 10:30 p.m., firefighters were only monitoring hot spots.

“You just feel for them, you know, because you work hard and something within a couple hours is gone,” said Heather Verwey, a local resident.

The building was built in 1904 and has been used to house council chambers, served as a fire hall and at one time a jail complete with prison cells.

“With the heavy timber construction that exists, it doesn't burn through near as quick and therefore you don't get the same collapse as we do in the modern day construction,” said Shantz.

Once it was safe to enter the building, North Dumfries Fire began to investigate the cause.