An historic four-storey building near Dunedin's Octagon has been damaged in a suspicious blaze.

Southern Fire Service communications manager Tim Reynolds said the Allbell Chambers on Stuart St was engulfed by fire when the alarm was raised at 4.05am.

Five fire trucks, including a turntable ladder, was needed to fight the blaze.

Reynolds said it was being treated as suspicious.

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There were no reports of injuries or people inside the building.

Fire safety officers would investigate the blaze this morning.

The listed Category 2 historic property was built in 1909 and has recently housed a restaurant, shops and offices.