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The fire which caused millions of dollars worth of damage to a Ruapehu ski field at the weekend has this morning been confirmed as arson.
Fire, police and forensic experts have been examining the fire scene since the blaze was extinguished on Saturday. Three seats of fire have been discovered and traces of an accelerant have also been found.
The Knoll Ridge Cafe was destroyed in the fire along with a workshop about 150m from the cafe. The building housing the chairlift mechanism was damaged by the fire but the chairlift itself was saved.
The cost of the fire is thought to be around $5m.
An investigation was launched at the outset of the fire due to suspicions that it was the result of foul play. Those enquiries are continuing today and police particularly want anyone who was on the mountain during the day on Friday (13 February) to contact them.
Detecive Scott Ivimey said: "We want to build up a list of everyone who was in the area on Friday so that we can rule people out of the investigation and glean information they may have. It is a known tourist spot so some people may have left the area unaware that they hold information that might be relevant."
Anyone with information is asked to contact Taumarunui Police on 07 895 8119.
Media enquiries should be referred to Communications Manager Kim Perks on 06 351 2546 or 027 234 8256.