A South Auckland laundromat has been badly damaged by fire overnight.

Northern Fire Service shift manager Megan Ruru said six crews fought to stop the blaze spreading to neighbouring businesses after it broke out in a block of shops in O'Shannessey Street, Papakaru at 11pm.

The laundromat was well ablaze when firefighters arrived, she said.

Other shops in the block suffered some smoke damage.

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There were no people in or near the properties at the time, she said.

Fire Safety investigators would be examining the scene today to determine the cause of the fire.