Punt Road is closed in both directions between Commercial Road and Toorak Road this morning – and is expected to remain so for most of the day – as emergency services manage the scene. Vic Roads has advised drivers to use St Kilda Road or Chapel Street instead.

The South Yarra Presbyterian Church on Punt Road was well ablaze this morning when fire crews arrived at around 6:30am, according to the Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) website.

Close to 60 firefighters worked to contain the inferno, which caused extensive damage to the back section of the building. FRV crews were able to control the flames and limit their spread to save the front section of the church, which remains intact.

The school day at South Yarra Primary, directly next door to the church, as well as the early learning sessions held by nearby Christ Church Grammar School in the building itself, have been cancelled.

A Watch and Act warning was issued to residents of Albert Park, Cremorne, Melbourne, Prahran, Richmond, South Melbourne, South Yarra and Windsor around 7am before being downgraded to an Advice warning just after 8am.

FRV says smoke may be smelled and seen for several hours but people located within the area are now able to resume normal activities.

The fire was declared under control at 8:07am, but Punt Road remains closed in both directions as emergency crews continue investigations and management. It’s expected they will remain at the scene for most of the day.

Victoria Police are yet to determine the cause of the fire. Ambulance Victoria has treated a patient at the scene.