Firebug fears as bid made to torch tavern
The new live-in manager of Nelson's Rising Sun Tavern has been left shaken after a small fire was lit, three weeks after the tavern opened following a suspicious fire last December.
The fire appeared to have been started on the corner of the tavern's deck, and had spread under the deck and through the walls, causing minor damage before going out of its own accord.
Manager Cath Flutey said she believed the fire had been lit on Saturday night, but it was only discovered on Sunday as it was hidden behind broken furniture that had been left on the deck.
Police had visited yesterday.
Detective Neil Kitchen said tests had confirmed the presence of volatile organic compounds in accelerants, but samples now had to be tested to confirm this.
The tavern was shut until the beginning of this month after a suspicious fire caused major damage in December.
That fire started at the back of the hotel, then went into the ceiling and into the floor above. Firefighters had to rip iron from the roof to cut off the fire in the ceiling space.
Mrs Flutey lives above the tavern with her husband Trevor and a boarder, and she said she was shaken by the incident, which came only three weeks after it had re-opened.
"We wouldn't know if all this went up until it was too late."
She now had to sleep with her eyes open, she said.
"It's scary, we have just got the bleeding shakes, it's nerve-racking.
"Every little bump and crash makes you jump."
She had no idea who could have lit the fire, as she had not made any enemies in her short tenure in the tavern.
The tavern had hosted a wedding reception on Saturday night, and Mrs Flutey said she would be reviewing security camera footage as well as photographs taken out on the deck to try to spot anyone acting suspiciously.
The damage to the deck was "just a patch-up job", she said.
Anyone with information on the fire or suspicious activity near the tavern should contact police on 03 546 3840, or information can be given anonymously to Crimestoppers, 0800 555 111.
- © Fairfax NZ News