Friday , December 9 2022

4 businesses ruined after arson attack at Melbourne tobacconist

11-02-2022

Bureau Report

MELBOURNE: Owners are shattered after four businesses were destroyed when tobacconist in Melbourne’s south-east was the subject of a “nightmare” arson attack late last night.

CCTV has captured the Thompson Road store in Patterson Lakes exploding into a fireball about 11.35pm after two intruders smashed through the shopfront.

The intruders were captured driving a silver four-wheel-drive utility with a canopy into Harbour Plaza, before they proceeded to smash the tobacconist’s shopfront with weapons.

One person was then seen running inside to pour accelerant into the shop before it was lit on fire.

The offenders then fled the scene in the vehicle.

The fire spread to nearby stores, burning out a neighboring Japanese restaurant, burger restaurant and beer and wine bar.

The tobacconist owner, Ali Sultan, was working late and left just minutes before the attack.

He told 9News the incident was a “nightmare” after he only opened the shop in recent months.

Restaurant owner Nino Cucinello said the fire was “just an absolute tragedy”.

“We’re all numb.”

Smoke and water damage to the block at the shopping plaza is extensive and could take months to repair.

Businesses in the plaza that were still operable today were forced to do business outside, while industrial fans were brought to clear the smoke from the air.

Detectives have released images and CCTV of the ute and two people who may be able to assist with their enquiries.

Police said one person may have been injured in the blaze. No arrests have been made.

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