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7 June 2011, 12:20
Detectives investigating the fire at Southampton Car Wash, St Mary’s Street, say they are treating the case as arson with intent to endanger life after tests at the scene.
6 fire engines were sent to deal with the fire, which happened on Saturday, May 21, between 4am and 5.40am. The car wash and nearby buildings needed structural reinforcement. Nearby buildings were evacuated.
A joint investigation by Hampshire Fire and Rescue service and Hampshire Constabulary provided early indications that the fire was started deliberately; further tests strongly suggest it was arson. The motive for the fire is still unclear.
Officers are still appealing for witnesses and in particular wish to speak to:
A man on a cycle who stopped at the scene and spoke to a woman who was calling the fire and rescue service - described as a black male, around his late 20s wearing a dark jacket and cap.
A man who was taking pictures at the scene - described as white, late 20s and around 5'7".
A group of three women and a man described as wearing Sailors hats.
A male jogging in Hoglands Park - described as doing circuits
Officers are asking these people or anyone else who has information or knows who these witnesses may be to contact Detective Constable Danielle Daltrey at Shirley CID quoting Operation Craigside on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.