A fire has destroyed one of the only businesses in the small western Manitoba community of McAuley.

Ultimate Blast and Paint, an autobody shop in McAuley, caught fire at about 6 a.m. Thursday, said Trisha Huberdeau, CAO of the rural municipality of Ellice-Archie.. 

It was one of just two locally owned businesses in the village, which is more than 300 kilometres west of Winnipeg near the Saskatcheawn border. The only other business in the tiny community is a small grocery store and café. 

"It was quite hot, quite large," Huberdeau said about the fire, "but well-contained. The flames went through the building quite quickly."

Firefighters from McAuley fought the fire and some remained at the scene into the afternoon. They also received help in the morning from crews based in nearby St. Lazare and Elkhorn, Huberdeau said.

Fire investigators were combing through the rubble Thursday afternoon, Huberdeau said, but she hasn't heard yet what may have sparked the fire. 

The Office of the Fire Commissioner said Friday that the fire is believed to be accidental. Damage is estimated at $250,000. 

"Being an autobody shop and mechanical, it's something everybody in the community used for sure," she said. "Drastic hit on the town for sure." 

She said community officials have reached out to the shop's owner and said he was in shock Thursday. 

Between 85 and 100 people live in McAuley, Huberdeau said.