The St Vincent de Paul Society is helping provide emergency food and supplies to residents of Walgett in rural New South Wales after the town's only supermarket went up in flames. Source: ABC News.
NSW Fire and Rescue declared the IGA Supermarket building completely destroyed after battling the fire on Fox Street earlier this week.
There were no reports of injuries.
It was the second time the building has been damaged by fire after it was first destroyed in 2013.
"This is devastating news for the town," said NSW Fire and Rescue acting superintendent Greg Wright
Walgett's nearest alternate supermarket is 80 kilometres away.
Witness Kylie McKenzie, who lives 100 metres from the supermarket, was on her way to buy groceries when she encountered thick black smoke.
"The staff had been evacuated out; the roads were blocked off," she said.
The smoky scenes were all too familiar for Ms McKenzie, who said the 2013 blaze left the town without a supermarket for almost a year.
"It was really, really hard," she said.
"It's devastating to have it happen again so close."
St Vincent De Paul's executive officer for the north-west region, Paul Donnan, witnessed the front window of the supermarket explode during the blaze.
He described the scene as "frightening".
Mr Donnan said he would be helping mobilise emergency food relief for Walgett's residents in the coming days.
"We are looking to see what we can do to support people in these circumstances and or provide something for an ongoing basis for people who are in crisis," he said.
Police will work to determine the cause of the fire and will meet with the local council to ensure the community will have adequate access to groceries and other provisions.