Unit fire suspected to be arson
A SUSPECTED late-night arson attack on a block of four occupied timber flats in Lismore has horrified residents and neighbours.
An occupant of the targeted unit said ‘a fireball’ had erupted inside the front door of the Hindmarsh Street unit shortly after 3am, right next to two sleeping children.
The children, aged 10 and two, were asleep in the garage which had been converted into a bedroom.
It is believed accelerant was poured under the roller door before being lit, igniting the children’s plastic toys just centimetres from their beds.
They were treated at the scene for minor smoke inhalation and taken to Lismore Base Hospital for observation.
They were unharmed and released shortly after.
An external garage door and adjacent front door were damaged in the blaze at the corner unit.
A garage door on the other side also showed some fire damage.
Upstairs neighbours were awoken by alarms going off and felt the heat through the floorboards.
They reported thick smoke coming through the floorboards.
Lismore Fire Brigade Inspector Chris Bishop said the unit had been declared a crime scene while police investigated the cause of the fire.
He praised quick action by the occupants and neighbours in putting out the blaze, which was under control by the time the brigade arrived.
Detectives from Richmond Local Area Command are investigating and forensic investigators were collecting evidence from the crime scene yesterday.
Police believe accelerant was used to start the firesimultaneously in several locations.
Two men were observed leaving the units at around 3.15am.
They were seen driving off in a dark coloured, four-door, early model sedan and police believe they may be able to assist with the inquiry.
Police have appealed to anyone with information to contact Lismore detectives on 6626 0599, or to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.