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A potential disaster was narrowly avoided at a Hamilton petrol station last night after an agitated man allegedly set fire to a car and assaulted a man.
Hamilton Detective Sergeant Andrew Mortimore said emergency services were called to the service station in Whitiora about 10pm after calls were received about a man armed with a knife attacking a petrol bowser.
The man then allegedly used the fuel hose's metal nozzle to damage a car parked on the forecourt.
"He has then used fuel from the pump to try and start a fire on the forecourt before setting fire to the interior of another car."
A potential disaster was averted by quick thinking of a staff member at the station who was able to automatically stop the flow of fuel to that pump from behind the locked doors of the service station, Mr Mortimore said.
Police and firefighters were able to put out the fires.
"The man fled the scene of his attack and was apprehended a short time later in the grounds of a nearby super market."
He has been referred for psychiatric assessment and any charges would be determined afterwards, Mr Mortimore said.