29 Jan 2004

Arson being considered after big Solomons blaze

8:38 pm on 29 January 2004

Solomon Islands deputy police commissioner Ben McDevitt says it will be several days before they can rule out whether a massive fire in Honiara on Wednesday was arson.

The fire destroyed three buildings housing seven businesses in central Honiara in a blaze described as one of the biggest ever in the Solomons capital.

Mr McDevitt says there is nothing to indicate yet that the fire was suspicious.

He says the initial view is that the fire started in a Chinese restaurant on the second floor of one of the buildings.

"we have our crime scene investigators down there and we have forensic specialists examining the scene, and I think in the coming days we'll be able to identify the exact source of the fire, whether there were any accelerants used or anything else"

Ben McDevitt.

One of the offices destroyed belonged to prominent businessman, Robert Goh, who 13 months ago, while working as an advisor to the Prime Minister, was shot at and wounded.

That attack has never been solved, but police sources at the time linked it to a commercial rivalry.