Piha arson attacks: 'It feels like war'

2:59 pm on 8 May 2017

The Fire Service is warning Piha residents, who say they feel under attack from an arsonist, to prepare for more fires.

Adey's Place fish and chip shop in Piha.

Adey's Place fish and chip shop in Piha was set alight. It was one of several fires lit at the beachside town over the weekend. Photo: RNZ / Anusha Bradley

A fish and chip shop in the town went up in flames in the early hours of Sunday morning and firefighters also battled scrub fires in the area, which prompted three houses to be evacuated.

Those events followed suspicious fires last week in the town.

Resident Susannah Fougere-Hardy said volunteer firefighters, including her husband, were exhausted from the call-outs.

"From the community there is anger, fear and uncertainty until whoever is responsible is found.

"It feels like we've been attacked, when the siren goes off and your stomach feels sick and your husband races out the door."

Adey's Place owner, Adrian Doggett, said he found out about the fire just as they were about to fly home from Fiji.

"My wife broke down in tears ... and we had a very uncomfortable flight back, but you've got to look on the positive side, we are insured to a degree and incredible support from the local community, everybody's been wonderful, people I don't even know have been wonderful."

Mr Doggett said they hoped to resume business from the Piha Surf Life Saving Club next door until repairs were made to the premises.

Adrian Doggett, owner of Adey's Place that was gutted by a suspicious fire.

The shop's owner, Adrian Doggett, said he was devastated by the fire. Photo: RNZ / Anusha Bradley

Firefighters are preparing for more suspicious fires and have asked residents to clear away material that could be set alight.

Henderson senior fire station officer Evan Lamberton said residents and firefighters were nervous, and residents should keep their eyes open to catch the culprit before any more damage was caused.

He said fire crews worked in the dark and difficult terrain to stop yesterday's fire spreading up the hill to homes.

Police are urging anyone with information about the fire at Adey's fish and chip shop to come forward.

There was an increased police presence at Adey's Place overnight. Photo: RNZ / Anusha Bradley

Police were urging anyone with information about the spate of suspicious fires to come forward.

The area commander of the Waitakere Police, Inspector Scott Webb, said an increased police presence had been in place overnight and the scene of the fire was still under guard.

He said police were working hard to identify who lit the fires and anyone with information should contact them or Crimestoppers.