Fire was lit, claims manager
BYRON Bay carpenter Steve Hurst believes the fire that damaged the joinery business he manages at the industrial estate yesterday was deliberately lit.
“I’m not an expert, but you can see where the flames have licked up from the front outside. I won’t touch anything till they’ve checked it out because I think it was arson,” he said.
Byron Bay and Bangalow fire brigades were called to the blaze in Fern Place about 1.30am yesterday.
Firefighters contained the blaze to one corner of the building before conducting a search-and-rescue procedure after ventilating the building,” a NSW Fire Brigade spokesman said. “No one was hurt.”
The fire began at Mr Hurst’s business, where most of the damage occurred, but two other businesses in the building also suffered smoke damage. A residential apartment in the complex appeared unaffected. Police said the residents raised the alarm.
Police attended the site yesterday afternoon to investigate and collect evidence.
Inspector Owen King said he was still waiting on results, but detectives would be following up.
A distressed Mr Hurst was frustrated at the damage but was full of praise for firefighters.
“Their response was awesome. It could’ve been an absolute disaster,” he said. “Until the owner gets here to sort out the insurance I can’t do anything.”
Sam Stewart, owner of fruit and vegetable wholesaler Fruitos, was working hard to keep orders flowing by flashlight early this morning.
“We won’t have power for a couple of days due to water damage so we’ve got a generator in to keep things going,” he said.
“There’s black soot everywhere, but the stock in the cool room seems okay so far.”
“We won’t know the full damage bill until we determine the loss of shelf life from the power being off. Hopefully we won’t lose too much.”