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Woolworths shoppers have had to run for their lives after an Adelaide supermarket was allegedly set alight with customers inside.

Two 14-year-old boys have been charged with arson after the supermarket on Mount Barker Rd in Stirling was completely destroyed by the fire on Sunday afternoon.

More than 100 firefighters from the Country Fire Service (CFS) and Metropolitan Fire Service were needed to battle the blaze, which is believed to have started in one of the aisles.

The blaze destroyed the supermarket, damaged other shops and caused $15 million in damages.

The Stirling Village shopping centre was evacuated as bystanders heard explosions and large black plumes of smoke rose from the building.

No one was injured from the blaze.

The work of firefighters was praised by CFS executive director of operations Cameron Devey after they contained the blaze.

“We’re really, really keen on stressing that our firefighters here tonight have done a great job,” he said.

“They have saved the adjoining businesses and shops.”

While the supermarket was the only store to be destroyed in the fire, there is expected to be smoke and water damage to the rest of the complex which includes many small businesses.

Power was cut to the area as the blaze raged on for hours.

“We aware of the disruption that it may cause but it’s necessary as part of the process of putting the fire out,” Mr Devey said.

The two boys, from Heatherfield and Bridgewater, were bailed to appear in Mount Barker Youth Court on December 14.

Thick smoke has blanketed Stirling as a result of the blaze, with the CFS urging residents to remain inside and close their windows and doors.

“The incident is generating a large amount of smoke drifting in an easterly direction, impacting on Mount Barker Rd and surrounding streets,” the message said.

One worker revealed that the blaze was so unexpected, he tried to turn off the fire alarm after believing it was set off by accident.

“I tried to turn it off thinking nothing was happening,” David Holliday told the Advertiser. 

“But the front staff were screaming ‘this is not a drill, we have to leave now.”

He added that the fire hasn’t “sunk in yet” and that he was “sad” to see the store set alight.

“I feel a bit sad because I’ve been working there so long,” he said.

“It’s going to take a few years to get back to what it was.”

Another employee told the paper that staff did an “amazing job” evacuating shoppers.

“It took hold so quick, it was really scary,” she said.

“The staff did an amazing job evacuating everyone from the store.

“People could have been in serious trouble if they didn’t act sooner.”

Read related topics:AdelaideWoolworths

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By Rahul

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