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Blaze tears through Toowoomba pub

AAP logoAAP 13/11/2016

A suspicious fire has caused major damage at former Queensland State of Origin star Jason Smith's Toowoomba pub.

Police were first to notice flames leaping from The Mill Street Tavern about 11.30pm on Sunday as they were driving past the pub near the town's CBD.

Darling Downs Acting Detective Inspector Paul McCusker said the hotel, owned and operated by Smith, was unoccupied at the time.

A crime scene has been declared and forensic examiners were inspecting the site on Monday to ascertain the cause of the fire.

A skilful and tough rugby league utility, Smith played 16 Origin matches for Queensland and 16 Tests for Australia in a career that spanned 17 years.

He played for four NRL clubs after debuting for the Canterbury Bulldogs in 1990 but his life hit "rock bottom" earlier this year after he pleaded guility to eight charges of cocaine possession.

Smith, 44, was originally charged with drug trafficking as part of the Queensland NRL cocaine scandal but that charge was withdrawn.

He was sentenced to three years in jail after pleading to the drug charges in June but was immediately released on parole.

Believing the fire is suspicious, police are asking for witnesses to contact Crimestoppers.

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