Fatal factory fire

Western Panels on Bunnett Street, Sunshine North was the victim of an arson attack on Friday, February 23. (Gerald Lynch)

Two people tragically died in a fire in Sunshine North that police say was deliberately lit.

On Friday, February 23 at about 4am, emergency services were called after reports the Western Panels factory on Bunnett Street was alight. When fire fighters arrived they found flames had spread to a building on Marshall Street where two unidentified people were asleep.

Inspector Chris Murray from the Arson and Explosives Squad said police do not believe the attack was linked to any previous fires including those that have targetted tobacco stores in the west and north in recent months.

He labelled the fire “nothing short of a tragedy”.

“Around 3.50am this morning, a white Ford Ranger attended this address, stopped outside Western Panels and two offenders exited the vehicle and subsequently there was accelerant spread, and the premises set alight, this was a targeted arson attack,” he said.

“The business is not known to police. There are no links at all to the current spate of arson attacks.”

Inspector Murray said the offenders have caused far more harm than it appears they had intended.

“What I’d say to the offenders is that this has now moved from an arson attack to an arson causing death, and we hold them personally responsible for the death of these two individuals,” he said.

Police are unsure why the deceased were in the Marshall Street building at the time, with nothing to suggest any illegal activity.

A total of 48 firefighters and 12 trucks fought the fire, and it wasn’t under control until just before 7am.

Anyone with information can contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or www.crimestoppersvic.com.au

Gerald Lynch