Did driver fight a fine with fire
A $20-MILLION blaze that destroyed the Liverpool Council chambers seven years ago may have been lit by a motorist furious over a $200 parking fine.
Police have reopened their investigation into the suspected arson attack after receiving a tip-off about a possible motive.
“Detectives have been told the fire may have been lit following a dispute over a council-issued fine,” Detective Superintendent Murray Chapman said yesterday.
“Given the extensive damage caused by the fire, we also believe there was more than one person in- side the chambers that night, and likely there are others who know more than they’ve told police.’’
The blaze, which broke out just after midnight on August 15, 2010, wiped out hundreds of council files at the Hoxton Park building.
Superintendent Chapman, head of the NSW Property Squad, said he believed someone in the Liverpool area may know who was involved in a dispute with council at the time.
“We are continuing to analyse relevant records and data from around that time, but investigators believe there are people who have knowledge of the dispute but might not realise the connection to the fire.’’
An intruder alarm was “tripped’’ in the chambers at 12.35am on the Sunday morning by one or more people breaking into the offices of the council. Traces of an accelerant believed to have been used to start the fire were detected.
Among property lost in the blaze were historic items including mayoral robes and a picture of former Labor Party leader Mark Latham as mayor.
A number of possible motives were investigated at the time including bitter opposition from some local residents over the council’s decision to approve the building of an Islamic school at Hoxton Park.
Liverpool Council chambers ablaze as firefighters battle the fire and (inset) the aftermath.