THE proprietor of a Hastings car yard burgled and torched early on Saturday morning says he has “no idea” who is behind the attack.
Gerry Marciny, who has owned Longbeach Autos in Marine Pde for four years, said the fire “could have been a mistake”.
“We don’t have any disgruntled customers as far as I know,” he said.
He said the arsonists broke into the office before stating the fire.
They stole a laptop and model cars.
The firebugs also scrawled the words ‘dogs’ and ‘pedifile’ (sic) across the bonnets and doors of several cars reminiscent of an attack on a neighbouring business two years ago.
“I think it’s a random attack,” Mr Marciny said.
“If it was a disgruntled customer we could have resolved it amicably without this.”
Mr Marciny said fire damage to cars, offices and garages would run “into the thousands and thousands” of dollars.
“While there were only two cars totally destroyed, others are damaged and the worst thing is that all the keys have been burnt and we can’t move them.”
Ten cars were damaged in the blaze which prompted Mr Marciny to quip: “Now we’ll be having a fire sale”.
On Monday the corner yard was littered with burnt out wrecks, car parts and fire damaged buildings.
Brigade support officer south-east region Andrew Bartels said units from Hastings, Tyabb and Bittern fought the fire which started at about 4.30am.
A special appliance brought in breathing apparatus.
“The units engaged in an aggressive attack on the fire to contain it,” he said. “A couple of cars were badly damaged but many others had minor plastic damage. The workshop and offices were lost.”
Neighbours reportedly said the drama at their back fence “sounded like a freight train going past”.
Police fire investigators on the weekend scoured the site looking for clues as to the identity of the arsonists.
Anyone with information on the fire should call Hastings police 5970 7800 or Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000.