Suspicious fire destroys Dirt Squirt Motorcycle Centre
By MARY MANN email@example.com MYSTERIOUS clouds of smoke rose from twisted bodies of metal in the aftermath of a fire that destroyed the Dirt Squirt Motorcycle Centre early yesterday morning.
The fire, which is being treated as suspicious by police, ruined 80 per cent of the South Lismore building and left the motorbikes and spare parts in mangled heaps on the ground.
When emergency services arrived at the scene about 4am, the building, at Three Chain Road, was well-alight.
Chris Fabri, NSW Fire Brigade acting zone commander for the Northern Rivers said it took five hours to extinguish the blaze.
"Our crews did good work to contain it to the one section of the building," Mr Fabri said.
"Luckily the exhaust workshop out the back didn't catch alight.
"There was a lot of smoke at the scene because of the large amount of tyres and motorcycle products which were on fire, so our crews had to wear breathing apparatus."
Fire crews from Lismore, Goonellabah and Casino were called in to put out the fire, and two crew members stayed behind after it had been extinguished to clean up and monitor some hot spots amongst the melted metal and ashes.
The heat of the blaze shattered the glass shopfront of the building and warped the tin walls.
An employee of the motorcycle centre who was at the scene of the fire yesterday morning, but did not wish to be named, said the walls of the building were glowing red when he arrived shortly after 4am.
"There were huge flames coming out of the roof," he said. "By the look of it, I don't think we'll be able to salvage anything.
"I don't know what I'm going to do tomorrow morning, I won't have a job to go to."
Dirt Squirt Motorcycle Centre was founded in 1994 by John Rose, a bike enthusiast who was at the time unemployed.
Within five years the business had outgrown its premises at Snow Street and in 1999 was moved to its current location at Three Chain Road.
Mr Fabri said the NSW Fire Brigade would assist police with their investigations into the incident from tomorrow morning, as the site had been too hot to investigate yesterday.
Anyone with information or who noticed anything suspicious should contact Lismore police on 66260 599 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.