A large fire at a Hamilton tyre shop early yesterday may have been lit by homeless people sleeping at the rear of the building.
Senior Station Officer Alban Osborne said the blaze was being treated as "very suspicious" and police and Fire Service would continue their investigations today.
The blaze started about 4.45am near the back wall of AH Franks in Anglesea St.
AH Franks owner Jim Nolen said homeless people had been sleeping in a carpark at the back and a neighbouring one, which both had roofs. Last week the firm locked their belongings in a skip but the homeless people broke into it and removed them.
Mr Nolen estimated the fire caused thousands of dollars worth of damage to the rear of the building and said about $20,000 worth of equipment, including a compressor and a customer's Nissan Skyline, had been destroyed.
The main workshop was saved from any substantial damage and the company reopened yesterday once power was restored.By Nikki Preston Email Nikki