Matthew Backhouse is a NZME. News Service journalist based in Auckland.

Suspicious fire at Winz office being investigated

Photo / File / Wayne Drought
Photo / File / Wayne Drought

A disgruntled customer is not being ruled out as the culprit behind a suspicious blaze at a Work and Income office in Auckland this morning.

Police said a man was helping with their inquiries after the fire damaged the entrance to the two-storey Winz building on Mountwell Cres in Panmure.

Detective Senior Sergeant Paul Newman said firefighters had found the entrance well ablaze shortly before 4am today.

"Fire investigators at the scene determined that the fire was suspicious and could have been set up to an hour and a half before the alarm was raised,'' he said.

"A scene examination has located an amount of debris in the entrance, which seems to indicate that the fire was deliberately lit.''

Mr Newman said it appeared some sort of fuel was used to light the fire, but it was too early to tell what type of accelerant had been used.

"There was quite extensive damage around the front area of the building, and obviously the fire has got up into the ceiling, the roof area, which has caused damage in the ceiling cavity as well.''

Asked whether the fire could be linked to a disgruntled Winz customer, Mr Newman said he did not want to speculate, but added: "We will be looking at a number of avenues of inquiry, that being one of them.''

Police were talking to a man who was assisting with inquiries.

Mr Newman said it was too early to tell whether charges would follow.

Police are encouraging anyone who saw anyone on foot in the Mountwell Cres area between 2.30am and 4am today to contact Glen Innes police on (09) 524 1921.


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