The owner of a central Christchurch building severely damaged by fire today believes the blaze is suspicious.
Andrews & Gilmore Panel and Paint owner Roy Andrews said the fire began in an adjacent Welles St building.
It spread through to his workshop, where one of his staff was working.
He said he had had a lot of problems with break-ins a the vacant building.
He suspected the fire may have been started as a prank.
One wall of his property, which he has owned about 25 years, was completely burned.
However, his employee was able to move the cars from the workshop.
"Nothing is damaged, although some have a bit of ash on them,'' he said.
The business switched to water-based paint a few years ago, so there was never any threat of an explosion if the fire had moved further into the workshop, Andrews said.
Thick black smoke could be seen billowing from the site, between Colombo and Manchester St.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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