Police investigate Jetty Strip fire
Well-known Indian restaurant Tandoori Oven, neighbouring cafe Urban Espresso Lounge and Scoffs Seafood and Grill Restaurant have all sustained extensive damage as a result of a blaze that is believed to have been a deliberately lit yesterday morning.
Police were patrolling Harbour Drive around 12.40am when they noticed smoke emerging from the rear of the Tandoori Oven, which is situated about halfway down the restaurant strip.
On closer inspection, they found the back storage area of the restaurant well alight.
Local fire crews were called to the area and extinguished the blaze but not before the Tandoori Oven sustained major fire damage.
Both Urban Espresso Lounge and Scoffs Seafood and Grill were damaged by smoke. Luckily, no one was in any of the premises at the time.
Police established a crime scene at the premises, and forensic detectives were in attendance.
Owners of Scoffs Seafood and Grill, Mal and Pauline Mason, had utilised the quiet night and taken their one night off before Christmas.
"The June long weekend is our quietest long weekend of the year, so we took Monday night off and went out to Darlington Beach Holiday Park," Mr Mason said.
"We got a call at 3am to say this had happened. The restaurant was thick with smoke."
While their premises was least affected by the blaze, the whole restaurant now has to be cleaned before they re-open.
Mr Mason said he and his wife had never had a problem like this in their 14 years on the strip.
"It is very disappointing," Mr Mason said.
"We live just at the back, and we're normally still up at that time. If I had have been here we would have seen or heard something."
Police believe the blaze was deliberately lit and have launched an investigation into the incident.
Anyone who has information about the incident or noticed any suspicious activity is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.