Crews battle huge Queensland shops fire

Residents living near a burning shopping centre in north Queensland could be forced to evacuate if firefighters can't bring the massive blaze under control.

Emergency services received reports of a fire in a shopping centre on Greenfield Blvd, Mackay, at 11.45am (AEST) today.

Police invoked the public safety act, which allows them to force people in the surrounding areas to evacuate, about 1.30pm.

The Department of Community Safety (DCS) says no one is injured and the shopping centre has been evacuated.

Twelve crews are battling the blaze in the Toys R Us, Clark Rubber and Autobarn stores.

A nearby shop worker, who did not want to be named, says witnesses saw police arresting four teenagers in the car park.

Police couldn't confirm whether any arrests had been made.

Mackay Deputy Mayor Kevin Casey said he was at a rescue demonstration with firefighters when they got the call.

"I was over at Cyclone Saturday with these guys from Fire and Rescue when they said `oh, we gotta go, we've got a fire to go to'," he said.

Mr Casey said he could see the smoke from his house.

"There's some pretty thick black smoke outside my window here now," he said.

"It's pretty dark smoke, like rubber or oil or something like that is burning."

"It's a fairly large complex over there. It must be a big fire."

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