Petrol was deliberately tipped throughout a Nelson restaurant and then lit on fire in an attempt to burn the building down, according to Nelson Live sources.
Fire crews from Nelson attended the attempted arson at Hanger 58 last Monday at around 2.30am. The fire was believed to have started in the bathroom and the police said at the time that it was suspicious.
Nelson Live has learnt that police investigations have included forensically testing an accelerant – believed to be petrol – that was tipped through the building.
Police spokesperson Barbara Dunn says the investigation into the fire is ongoing and no charges have been laid, yet.
Hanger 58 owner Josh Combes says the restaurant was only closed for a day and the damage wasn’t major. “We were just closed on the Monday and open again after that. The fire brigade were here within a minute so the damage was minor.”
Asked if he was concerned that petrol was thrown through the restaurant before it was lit, Josh says he was leaving it up to police. “I don’t know what the situation is. The police are doing their thing and we have to trust that they’ll do their jobs and get a result for us.
“Anytime something like this happens you can suspect people but it would be foolish of me to say anything along those lines.”
He says he isn’t concerned that someone is targeting his business and is just getting on with running the restaurant. “I don’t know a huge amount about it. I need to let them do their jobs and I need to keep doing my job, which is running a business.”
Fire Service investigator Craig Piner declined to comment on the investigation.