The Fire Service has responded to a series of suspicious fires in the shopping centre at Kamo, north of Whangarei.
A spokesperson says a fire took hold behind shops on Kamo Road at about 8.30pm on Friday.
As fire crews responded, more fires broke out in Kamo Road and Grant Street.
The spokesperson says firefighters found evidence of four fires that had been deliberately lit.
Concerns were held for people in apartments above the shops however they were found to be empty.
One garage was gutted by the fires and several shops have suffered smoke damage.
The Fire Service says firefighters and police officers are patrolling the area.