SIFTING FOR EVIDENCE: Forensic police attend the scene of a fire at Ballinas Southern Cross Industrial Estate. Picture: DOUG E
SIFTING FOR EVIDENCE: Forensic police attend the scene of a fire at Ballinas Southern Cross Industrial Estate. Picture: DOUG E

Third blaze destroys Ballina businesses

By MARY MANN

BALLINA police are investigating a suspicious fire which burnt out a removalist business in the early hours of yesterday morning.

It is the third fire at the Southern Cross Industrial Estate depot since 2004, and owner Bev Smith fears someone is targeting the business, Richard Unwin Pty Ltd .

Police forensics officers have cordoned off the depot site in Ray O'Neill Crescent.

The fire occurred at 1am on Monday, leaving the building and contents severely damaged.

It took three fire brigade units more than an hour to put out the fire.

Ms Smith was in a state of disbelief yesterday as she told The Northern Star her family business was 'ruined'.

"All our paperwork, computers, the whole lot's gone," Ms Smith said.

"We're not sure if we'll go ahead and rebuild again, it was hard enough last time.

"We just do our jobs and don't hurt anybody ... I don't know why anybody would do this to us."

Police yesterday declined to comment on any link between the three fires, and were unable to say whether the fire had been deliberately lit.

Ms Smith and her husband, Richard Unwin, were still unsure how much the damage would cost the business, or whether insurance would cover costs.

As a result of a fire in May last year, $150,000 worth of pantech trucks were destroyed. Two years before that, three trucks were burnt out at the same depot.

Those trucks were owned by Holiday Coast Removals, which Mr Unwin bought six months after the fire.

Anyone with information should contact Ballina police on 6681 8699.



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