A Nelson pub was gutted by a suspicious fire that sparked
fears for an adjacent petrol station early this morning.
Firefighters were called to the blaze on Waimea Rd about
1.45am, Fire Service southern communications shift manager
Riwai Grace said.
"Initial reports were that it might be a petrol station. When
they arrived, thankfully it wasn't a petrol station but it
was actually a pub."
The fire was at the Rising Sun Tavern, a two-storey wooden
building adjacent to a Challenge petrol station.
Mr Grace said the tavern was "burning well" and three more
fire crews were called in.
"It took them just over three hours to extinguish the fire -
it was in two floors and the roof."
He said the fire was "definitely suspicious".
Police are understood to have been alerted to burglaries in
the area about the same time, but Nelson police spokeswoman
Barbara Dunn dismissed those reports.
"That suggestion might have come from the sounds of glass
popping and smashing, so at this stage, no suggestion that
there's been a burglary at the scene of the fire."
Ms Dunn said the cause of the blaze was yet to be
established, but it was considered suspicious.
Fire safety officers and police would investigate this
- Matthew Backhouse of APNZ