Garage owner left with £3,000 bill after ‘arson’ fire

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GARAGE manager Chris Walker has spoken of his anger about what he believes is an arson attack on two of his vehicles.

The fire service was called to the blaze at Brockhurst Garage in Brockhurst Road, Gosport, after a neighbour whose house backs on to the garage spotted the flames.

FIRE FURY Chris Walker manager of the Brockhurst Garage in Gosport

FIRE FURY Chris Walker manager of the Brockhurst Garage in Gosport

A silver Mazda Rx8, which was waiting to be repaired before being sold, had flames coming from the back seat.

The fire spread to a white Vauxhall van, also waiting to be sold, which was parked close behind it.

Chris, from Hayling Island, said: ‘I got a call about to tell me there was a large fire at the garage.

‘The police came and they reckon it was kids but they didn’t seem very interested.’

He added: ‘Their answer was that it is on fire and that’s the end of it.

‘It is a pain in the backside and money that we will have to find from elsewhere.

‘The car and van are useless now, they will have to be scrapped.’

Chris estimated the cost to the garage would be around £3,000.

He said the garage would not be claiming on insurance as it would be just as expensive once the excess was paid and the premium went up next year.

Neighbour Derek Corby, 82, owns a garage near to the fire and his garage’s guttering was damaged.

He said: ‘It was very dangerous and I’d say it was attempted murder.

‘It could have spread to the end house and they have a young child in there.’

Derek said that there was often a problem with people drinking and acting anti-socially in the walkway through to the garage.

He said: ‘You only have to look in the overgrown grass there to see all kinds of empty bottles and needles. It’s disgusting.’

Derek also said that the fire could have been much worse if it hadn’t been spotted by his neighbour so early.

He said: ‘I had two gas bottles in my garage which we use when we go camping.

‘They are lucky it did not spread.

‘There were quite a lot of flames.’

Hampshire Constabulary said it was called to the scene at 9.35pm but is not investigating as it could not be proved to be arson.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service said that it did not determine the scene to be arson, although the station manager will now be reviewing the incident’s file.