The incident has prompted a broader inquiry into recent fires targeting Melbourne businesses.
Detectives from the Arson and Explosives Squad have initiated a thorough investigation into a fire that engulfed a business premises in Hoppers Crossing earlier today. Emergency services responded promptly to the scene on Hogans Road around 4am on August 11.
Fortunately, the store, identified as a tobacco business, was unoccupied at the time of the incident. An arson chemist was dispatched to the location to assess the situation. While the exact cause of the fire remains undetermined, law enforcement officials are treating the incident as suspicious.
Detective Inspector Chris Murray of the Arson and Explosives Squad emphasized the ongoing nature of the inquiry, stating, “We have been very open about the fact there is currently a significant investigation into a number of recent suspicious fires across Melbourne, and that police have a strong focus on this criminality. If you are engaged in this type of offending for any reason at the moment then rest assured, you have our full attention.”
The Hoppers Crossing fire has raised concerns among authorities, particularly in light of the series of recent fires targeting businesses throughout Melbourne. The Arson and Explosives Squad has been actively pursuing leads in these cases and is exploring various lines of inquiry.
Murray added, “So far we have seen millions of dollars of damage caused by these fires, with much of it impacting innocent parties. It is only due to luck that we haven’t seen anyone killed or seriously injured.”
As investigators work diligently to ascertain the cause of the fires and identify those responsible, they are collaborating with specialized units and partner agencies to expedite the process.
Alexandra Avenue Shopping Centre Hoppers Crossing 14th June 2023
Police are appealing to the public for assistance. Detective Inspector Murray urged, “We are keen to speak to anyone who witnessed the incident in Hoppers Crossing or has CCTV or dash-cam footage from the area. They would also like to speak to anyone with information about any of the other recent suspicious fires, and this information can be provided anonymously.”
Individuals with pertinent information are encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers at 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report online at www.crimestoppers.com.au.
The investigation remains ongoing as authorities strive to ensure the safety and security of the community in the face of these unsettling incidents.