Arsonists may have been hurt in Beechworth police station fire: Photos, video

ONE of two men responsible for an arson attack that destroyed a police officer’s private car and damaged the nearby Beechworth police station early yesterday morning may have been injured in the blaze, police say.

About 2.15am, two men broke through the back gate of the Beechworth police station on Williams Street and set the officer’s car alight.

The fire spread to the roof of the police station, where insulation was ignited.

Wodonga Detective Sergeant Graeme Simpfendorfer said the Subaru vehicle was engulfed in flames and destroyed.

The station suffered minor damage, but that did not affect its operation yesterday.

The station was unattended at the time of the fire.

Police were yesterday reviewing CCTV footage from the station which revealed the men entering the grounds.

“There is a significant flash that occurs on the footage and at the time of the fire they are seen leaving the area,” Sgt Simpfendorfer said.

“It is even possible one of the offenders sustained injuries as a result of the fire.”

Sgt Simpfendorfer said police believed it was a planned attack.

“We do expect somebody would know about this,” he said.

“People may have known it was going to happen or have knowledge about it since.

Sgt Simpfendorfer would not disclose the name of the police officer who owned the car. He said police were looking into whether the officer had been targeted.

“They are obviously concerned as to the motivation behind it,” he said.

“Part of the investigation is to find out whether it was directed at that member or the police station itself.”

Forensic experts from Melbourne and an arson chemist were at the station yesterday to collect evidence.

Sgt Simpfendorfer said an accelerant had been used and police would determine whether it had been recently purchased in the area.

“We are treating it seriously, as we do with any arson,” he said.

“To target police is a great concern and we will be working just as hard as we normally do to get to the bottom of it.”

Sgt Simpfendorfer said it was usually quiet in the early morning in Beechworth and he asked residents to come forward if they had seen anyone in the area.

“If there were taxis or people making deliveries at that time of morning we want to know if they saw anything suspicious,” he said.

“They should have stood out.”