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Police seek witnesses to suspicious Karangahake Gorge fire

Wednesday 7 September 2011, 5:56PM
By New Zealand Police


Waihi Police are appealing for information from the public following a suspicious fire that destroyed an historic building in the Karangahake Gorge early this morning.

Detective Mike Plant of the Waihi CIB said emergency services were called to the scene at the Karangahake Hall about 5am.

"The hall, which was built in the 1950s and is considered a focal point for the local community, was well alight when the Paeroa Fire Brigade arrived.

"Despite the best efforts of the fire-fighters the building was beyond saving and a scene examination by detectives and Fire Safety investigators have determined the cause was suspicious."

Mr Plant said given the location of the hall it is likely the person or persons responsible for setting the fire would have used a vehicle to reach the scene and it is likely early morning travellers between Paeroa and Waihi may have seen them travelling through the gorge.

"We would be keen to speak to anyone who saw any suspicious persons or behaviour, the inquiry team can be contacted at the Waihi Police Station on 07 8638179, alternatively information can be left anonymously with Crimestoppers on 0800 555111."