Did driver fight a fine with fire

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - Opinion - MARK MORRI

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.

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