Police in the Eastern Bay of Plenty have begun a criminal investigation into a suspicious fire at a Kawerau hotel.
The fire occurred at the Pinelands Motor Hotel at about 3am on Friday.
Police say that the investigation is in its early stages but that there are indications a man at the scene was the victim of an aggravated robbery just before the fire began.
They are also looking into reports that the man was doused in petrol during the robbery.
No one was injured in the fire.