3 Feb 2010

15 hurt in fire attack on Darwin insurance building

10:19 pm on 3 February 2010

A "disgruntled claimant" was responsible for a fire attack on an insurance office in the Australian city Darwin that injured 15 people, according to police.

Police say the man entered the Territory Insurance Office (TIO) premises housed in a central city shopping centre about 11am on Wednesday.

He was wheeling a trolley containing three jerry cans and fireworks and there was an explosion shortly afterwards, the ABC reports.

Police say the 44-year-old has previously made threats against the company. He has been taken into custody.

Those inside the building say they heard repetitive bangs like fireworks or a semi-automatic rifle before the building filled with thick black smoke.

TIO chief executive Richard Harding says the company did not receive any threats before the explosion and it appears to be a random event.

The injured have been taken to Royal Darwin Hospital, many suffering from burns.

The shopping complex, which sits between Smith and Cavenagh streets, and neighbouring properties were evacuated.