Fire has destroyed the town hall and library in the north west town of Onslow.
Police say the blaze started about 7:30 pm last night and also damaged the town's shire offices.
The Shire of Ashburton's acting chief executive, Frank Ludovico says the damage is fairly extensive.
"Last report I had was only the walls remaining standing and who knows what that means," he said.
"Obviously in the light of day, we'll be able to see what has actually occurred and what hasn't occurred and what's salvageable and what not salvageable.
"But my understanding is that it's pretty well all gone."
"The unfortunate thing about it, is there are pretty historic records."
Officer in Charge at Onslow, Doug O'Neil, says it is unclear at this stage how the fire began.
"At this stage we can't ascertain until the site is safe as to what has exactly happened," he said.
"At the moment we are getting our local detectives and forensics to go through the motions of conducting a proper investigation.
"The offices and library have been totally gutted and burnt out and the hall has been affected by fire through the roof and throughout the whole building.
"But at this stage we haven't had the opportunity to have a thorough walk through the premise because of safety issues and the possibility the roof may collapse."
Anyone with information about the fire is urged to contact Crime Stoppers.