Arson attack shuts down three businesses

POLICE investigating yesterday’s shop fire in New Norfolk have determined that the blaze was deliberately lit. The local Vinnies charity shop at 34B Burnett St was gutted and two adjoining businesses suffered smoke and water damage.

Acting Inspector Mark Burke of Tasmania Police said the fire had started beside a clothes donation bin behind the row of shops on the corner of Burnett and Leatham streets, and then extended into the building.

Pauly’s Pizza owner Paul Belcher praised the quick action of local fire brigades, saying there was no doubt they had saved his business from destruction. His premises at 34A Burnett St and the adjoining Head Above Water seafood shop at 32 Burnett St are likely to be closed for several days.

At about 6.15am on Monday, emergency services were called to the fire on the corner of Leatham and Burnett streets. Police, ambulance and multiple crews from the Tasmania Fire Service attended the scene. Fire units responded from New Norfolk, Magra, Bridgewater and Glenorchy.

“Anyone with information in relation to the fire, or someone acting suspiciously in the area around the time of the fire, is asked to contact Tasmania Police on 131 444 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000,” Acting Inspector Burke said.

Originally one large shop, the three tenancies suffered a significant fire while trading as a video library in the 1980s, and the seafood shop suffered several arson attacks when occupied by La Bella Pizza in 2011.

Read the Mercury’s report here.

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