POLICE are investigating a suspicious fire that started at a petrol station on Durham Street early Saturday morning.

Chifley Local Area Command duty officer Inspector David Abercrombie said emergency services were alerted to “a small fire” at the Caltex retailer at around 3.15am.

“A witness was driving past the service station on Durham Street and noticed one of the bowsers was on fire,” he said.

The witness contacted the emergency services, who arrived on the scene a short time later and were able to have the fire extinguished quickly.

Inspector Abercrombie said there wasn’t much damage sustained in the fire.

“The petrol pump itself just suffered some minor damage from the fire and the credit card machine on top of the bowser [was also damaged],” he said.

“Police are reviewing CCTV (closed-circuit television) footage in an attempt to identify the culprit and our investigations are continuing.”

This was the first of two deliberate fires reported early Saturday morning.

The second occurred just over a kilometre away at the Bathurst Community Op Shop on Lions Club Drive.

At around 5.30am, emergency services were called to the premises following reports of a fire.

Fire crews had the fire out by 6.15am and were able to confirm that no one was inside at the time of the blaze.

Bathurst Fire station officer Guy Dover said an accelerant had been used.

The op shop building suffered severe fire damage, the worst of it seen in the front room.

Councilor Bobby Bourke, who has had a long involvement with the op shop, said there was also significant damage to display cabinets, counters and donated items.

He estimated it would cost as much as $100,000 to repair the building, not including the items that were lost.

Inspector Abercrombie said there was no evidence at this stage of the investigation to say whether the two fires on Saturday were connected.

Extracted from Western Advocate