Fire may have been deliberate

CUSTOMERS and staff were evacuated from Armidale’s Kmart Plaza arcade yesterday when car seat covers were set on fire.
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Police will view store security footage and speak to a number of witnesses in order to identify those responsible for starting the fire in the automotive section of Kmart shortly after midday.

Local security and store staff managed to quickly extinguish the small fire after noticing black smoke in one of the aisles.

Ambulance officers treated one employee for smoke inhalation as local fire crews evacuated customers and staff due to toxic smoke spreading through the store.

New England Local Area Command acting crime manager sergeant Stuart Gray said in-store security footage would be used in the investigation.

“In addition to the video surveillance a number of witnesses have come forwarded and provided statements,” sergeant Gray said.

“At this stage it is too early to say for certain, however it looks like the fire may have been started

deliberately.”

Two NSW Fire Brigade units spent an hour clearing smoke from the store allowing staff and customers back into the arcade and eight specialty shops shortly after.

Kmart was reopened later in the afternoon.

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