CFA was notified at 03:17 to reports of a restaurant fire on Collingwood St, Apollo Bay.
On arrival, one restaurant was fully alight, with the fire rapidly spreading to two neighbouring businesses.
The first two shops have been completely destroyed, with crews managing to save approximately a third of the last business.
A hazmat vehicle has been called to assist due to some chemicals at the scene.
An advice message has been put out for the area, and a motel next door to the buildings has been evacuated, along with nearby residents.
The scene was declared under control at 06:29
11 CFA appliances are on scene along with support from FRV.
Fire investigators have been called, and crews will remain on scene to continue blacking out.
Quotes attributable to CFA District 6 Commander Mark Gunning.
"When fire crews got there, the shop was fully alight and quickly spread to a shop on the south side. The fire was well established, and strong winds also fanned it into a third shop which was a hardware store."
"Two shops were totally destroyed and the third was severely damaged by fire."
“The hardware store sells a lot of different chemicals and because of damage to containers, some of them leaked chemicals. We’ve had HAZMAT teams monitoring the water flowing out from the fire, and also the quality of air in the area to make sure it’s safe."
“Fire investigators have arrived on scene and will commence work to establish a cause."
"CFA crews were aided by FRV units from Geelong, with ambulance and police also on scene."