Police and the fire service are investigating a suspicious fire at a historic building in Christchurch late last night.

Six fire crews were called to the old flour mill building in Wise St, Addington, at about 11.45pm.

The third level of the derelict building was well ablaze and firefighters worked for two hours to douse the blaze.

Southern Fire Communications shift manager Brent Dunn said police and fire investigators were looking into the circumstances of the blaze, which are thought to be suspicious.

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Mr Dunn said it was the second fire they had attended at the building last night, after initially being called to a small "camp fire" on a lower level earlier in the evening.

Authorities attending to the earlier blaze found a man who had suffered smoke inhalation. He was taken to hospital for minor treatment.