Image Credit: Port Lincoln Times
A 14 year old Port Lincoln boy was arrested on Tuesday for arson in relation to the fire that destroyed the Target Country Port Lincoln store and damaged neighbouring buildings on Sunday afternoon.
Customers and staff had to evacuate the store when the fire started at about 3:30pm . 16 Port Lincoln MFS firefighters as well a four from Port Augusta and four from Whyalla were needed to control, put out and monitor the fire for any smoulders to Monday morning. Due to the large amount of combustible items the fire service was unable to get inside the building, the fire took five hours to extinguish.
Preliminary investigations by local Police determined the cause of the fire to be a faulty light fitting, but fire cause investigators discounted that on Monday suspecting arson.
Local detectives arrested the 14-year-old on Tuesday afternoon and he will appear in the Port Lincoln Youth Court at a later date. Police also spoke to a 9-year-old boy but no charges had been laid.
The damage bill from the fire has been revised up from the initial estimate of $500,000 to about $3.5million.
Target is close to finalising a site for its temporary store close to the current store, which was completely gutted in Sunday’s fire.
A Target spokesman said a number of representatives including management, safety and real estate team members met with Port Lincoln team members this week.
“Our team members are a priority and we will look after them,” the spokesman said.
“No jobs will be lost, we will continue to pay them and we have offered counselling to the store team during this difficult time.”
All of the stock and equipment in the store has been damaged but to minimise the inconvenience to customers with lay-buys, Target is sourcing replacement stock to fill these lay-buys as quickly as possible.
“We currently have teams re-creating these lay-buys and we will be in touch with affected lay-buy customers directly.”
Investigations continue and anyone who saw two youths in or around the store about 3.30pm on Sunday is asked to contact Port Lincoln police on 8688 3020 or Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.
Police also want to speak ta a man who drove past the store in a red car and who may have seen the two youths leaving the store at 3.30pm on Sunday.