A suspicious fire at a St Martins cafe was only minutes away from burning the building to the ground, its owner says.
Fava Cafe in Centaurus Rd narrowly escaped significant damage after a wheelie bin at the back of the property was set on fire early yesterday.
Fava owner Grant Barrie said the fire, which started about 5am, burnt a fence by the property and had started to make its way into the cafe when firefighters arrived.
''It made a hole in the ceiling, and the firefighters had to knock down the door to get in. They made a hell of a mess but they managed to save the building.''
He said the cafe had not suffered major damage and was able to open by 7.30am.
However, it could have been far worse if the fire had not been contained quickly.
''We were extremely lucky. We were about five minutes away from being closed down, and another 10 minutes from losing the building entirely,'' he said.
Fire risk management officer Sheryl Reveley said the fire was likely to have been deliberately lit.
She understood police were also investigating the fire.
- The Press
Which memorial design do you like most?Related story: Christchurch earthquake memorial designs unveiled