NT Police begin arson investigation into fire that ripped through NT Oriental Emporium in Darwin

A fire that swept through a Coconut Grove supermarket in the early hours of Thursday morning is being investigated as an arson by Northern Territory Police.

Firefighters and police have been on site at the NT Oriental Emporium, a popular Asian supermarket on Bagot Road, since just after 3:00am when the fire was called in by a neighbour.

The fire disrupted traffic along Bagot Road as the blaze continued smouldering throughout the morning.

A crime scene has been set up at the premises, which is suspected to have suffered millions of dollars’ worth of damage.

Fire investigators said the rear of the building and roof had collapsed, with smoke damage extending through the building.

Firefighters fought the blaze since just after 3:00am on Thursday.(ABC News: Nelson Lay)

NT Police Superintendent Mark Malogorski said investigators were treating the fire as suspicious while they gathered more information.

“On attendance, the premises was fully ablaze and a substantial amount of damage was caused,” he said.

“At this stage, we are treating it as a suspicious fire, as an arson, so the matter will be treated suspiciously unless ruled otherwise.”

Superintendent Malogorski addresses media in a suit against a purple backdrop.
Superintendent Malogorski encouraged any witnesses to provide information to police.(ABC News: Cameron Gooley)

Superintendent Malogorski said the intensity of the blaze was an early focus for investigators.

“The fire was very intense … so intense that it could not be put out this morning,” he said.

“At this stage, we are trying to identify if an accelerant was used.”

Superintendent Malogorski said investigators were looking with interest at the rear of the building and were working to obtain CCTV footage from surrounding premises.

“The crime scene is still open and is still being further investigated by fire investigators and forensic crime scene examiners,” he said.

“We are calling for witnesses any information available for members of the public to call Crime Stoppers and provide any valuable information to police.”

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