Teuila Fuatai

Teuila Fuatai is a reporter for the NZ Herald

Police seeking witnesses to $2.5m bus arson

Police are appealing to the public for information after a suspicious fire destroyed several Wellington buses and caused millions of dollars in damage yesterday.

Acting Detective Sergeant Caroline Martin said police believe the early-morning fire began when someone broke into one of the parked buses at the Karori bus depot and set it on fire.

At least four Go Wellington buses were destroyed in the blaze and another was badly damaged.

All five buses were recent additions to the Go Wellington fleet, and their owner, NZ Bus put the cost of the damage at between $2 million and $2.5 million.

Ms Martin said police wanted anyone who may have seen anything unusual in the Darwin St area, or had any other information in relation to the fire, to come forward and speak to Wellington police.

Residents in the area surrounding the bus depot, which is fenced off at night, were concerned about the incident and were interested in finding out what had happened, she said.

"There is a close proximity between the residential addresses and the buses, and it could have had a catastrophic outcome."

NZ Bus chief operating officer Rachel Drew said at least four buses had been written off.

"Three of them were brand new, only three to six months old. The other ones are only a couple of years old."

A fifth bus, which was parked behind the bus police believe was set on fire, could probably be salvaged, Ms Drew said.

While the fire and resulting damage had been hugely disappointing and frustrating, Ms Drew said she was relieved surrounding houses had not been damaged.

There had been no previous problems with security at the Darwin St site, she said.

- APNZ

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