Police probe suspected arson attack on DoCS office
About 3.20am yesterday, police were alerted by a security firm to a fire at the Lismore DoCS office in Zadoc Street.
Police crime manager Detective Inspector Steve Clarke said police were treating the fire as suspicious.
The cause of the fire is being investigated, and he declined to say what evidence forensic officers had found.
Insp Clarke was unable to say if the fire could have been started by a disgruntled DoCS customer.
However, a DoCS spokesman said the department was working closely with police in the investigation.
The spokesman said the department had taken ‘immediate steps to maximise the safety of our staff’, and confirmed urgent child protection services in the Lismore area would not be affected.
NSW Community Services Minister Linda Burney said security at the Lismore office had been immediately increased, with security staff now on duty.
Support staff would be also sent to help local DoCS workers.
Three police officers forced their way into the basement car park to start fighting the blaze which had engulfed two cars.
Firefighters arrived soon after, dousing the flames and preventing a potential explosion.
The three police officers were treated for smoke inhalation at Lismore Base Hospital. One officer was not fit for duty yesterday.
Lismore MP Thomas George said it was fortunate the new DoCS office, opened this year, was across the road from the police station.
“I spoke to Michael Buckley, the local DoCS chief in Lismore, and he indicated the staff are well and handling the situation okay,” Mr George told Parliament. “It was an incident that could have been a lot worse than it has been.”