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Christchurch Police renew call for information on city fires

Christchurch Police renew call for information on city fires

Christchurch police are repeating their call for information on two fires in the central city earlier this month - including a request for footage that bystanders may have captured on their cellphones.

Detective Gary Absalom says Police enquiries into fires at the Billens Building in High Street and the Konica/Minolta building on Moorhouse Avenue on 7 December are continuing.

However the investigations remain hampered by the fact that the High Street scene cannot be accessed because of safety concerns.

"Indications are that both fires have been deliberately lit," says Detective Absalom. "We have completed our scene examination at the Moorhouse Avenue site, and believe this to have been a deliberate arson.

"At this stage there is no evidence to indicate that the fires are linked - but we are keeping an open mind on the matter."

Detective Absalom says Police still want to hear from anyone who witnessed either fire, or was in the vicinity of either location around the time of the incidents, which occurred between 9.20pm and 10.10pm on 7 December.

"We have received footage from people who recorded video on cellphones - but there may well be others with similar video or photos, and we would very much like them to contact Police.

"We also want to hear from anyone who was in the vicinity of either location and may have seen any activity in the time leading up to the fires."

Meanwhile, High Street heritage campaigner Monica Beaumont has added her voice to calls for further information on the fires.

"It is devastating to see the Billens Building lost," she says. "This was part of one of the most unique areas of Victorian buildings in all of Australasia.

"Whoever has done this has deprived the people of Christchurch of a truly beautiful building, and an irreplaceable piece of our pioneering history."

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Absalom through Christchurch police station on (03) 3637400.

Alternatively, to provide information anonymously contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.


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