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No-one was injured in the blaze, which nearly gutted one home in Dewar St and damaged a neighbouring property.
Firefighters were alerted about 7.15pm.
Detective Senior Sergeant Malcolm Inglis, of Queenstown, said the fire started outside the house, and police wanted to hear from anyone who had seen people ‘‘hanging around the area’’.
The fire had occurred at a time when many people were around; there was a good chance someone had information useful to the investigation, he said.
A Fire and Emergency New Zealand spokesman said crews arrived to find one property ‘‘well involved’’ and the blaze spreading to a neighbouring property.
They extinguished it within about half an hour.
No-one was in either property at the time.