The man who dangerously attempted to light fires at an Auckland petrol station may be closer to being caught, the station's owner says.

GAS Swanson owner-operator Chaudhry Zahid released security camera footage on Saturday showing a tall Caucasian man spending 30 minutes attempting to light fires at a pump and damaging the pump screens.

If the attempted arson attack in the early hours of that morning had worked, it would have been "very bad" as there was 25,000 litres of petrol in the station tanks at the time, Zahid said.

Shaken, he reported the damage to police and released video footage on social media in the hope it could lead to the man's arrest.


Police this morning said they do not yet have any updates in the case.

However, Zahid said a person had been in contact with him to say he recognised the firebug and knew where he lived.

The person said the firebug was a flatmate of one of their friends.

Zahid passed the details on to police not long after 11am this morning.

"So that maybe looks like a little bit of good news," he said.

However, damage to the station's pumps can only be repaired by Monday at the earliest and Zahid will have to claim the costs from insurance and pay the excess fee.

"He destroyed my pump (screens) and so I also have to explain to each customer what happened because they cannot read how much fuel is coming into their cars and how much they are paying," Zahid said.

"So this had been a little bit of trouble."


Zahid thanked his customers for their help after one customer, in particular, suggested he post the footage to social media and had been using their influence in the local community to help make inquiries.

He earlier told the Herald, the firebug first came around at 4 o'clock on Saturday morning and pulled off all the nozzles and threw them on the floor.

"Then he tried to break the nozzles, hitting them on the safety bars beside the pumps," Zahid said.

"Then he puts the nozzles on the floor and tries to light a fire over them. You can see the fire. Then he puts a cigarette lighter close to the nozzle, then even inside."

"You can see him make many tries, with the fires on the floor and fires inside the nozzle."

Zahid said he'd never had something like this happen before, and didn't have any arguments with customers.

A police spokesperson said they received a report of wilful damage at the petrol station at 9.26am on Saturday and an investigation is now underway.