Police believe that arson may have behind a fire that swept through an unoccupied building in Newfoundland's Conception Bay on Monday night.

The fire broke out around 7:30 p.m. at the building, drawing dozens of firefighters from several communities.

Owner Art Hickey said the building contained a house and three adjoining apartment units, but no one was living there. Hickey said he had been planning renovations to the property, which he said had been insured.

Some buses were parked nearby, but were not damaged.

The building once housed a bar known as Norm's Place, which had been named after Senator Norm Doyle, its former owner.

The fire had been contained by midnight, but flare-ups kept fire crews busy into the early hours of Tuesday.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.