Tasmania Police investigating $800,000 timber yard fire at Mowbray

UP IN FLAMES: Tasmania Fire Service crews fight a blaze at Neville-Smith Forest Products timber yard in Mowbray. Picture: Scott Gelston
UP IN FLAMES: Tasmania Fire Service crews fight a blaze at Neville-Smith Forest Products timber yard in Mowbray. Picture: Scott Gelston

More than 40 firefighters spent almost 24 hours fighting a blaze at a Mowbray timber yard after it was deliberalely set on fire. 

Emergency services were called to the Remount Road business about 11pm Tuesday after multiple triple-zero calls reporting a fire.

On arrival, firefighters found timber at Neville-Smith Forest Products engulfed in flames. 

More resources were called in, with 11 crews involved in fighting the blaze overnight Tuesday and throughout the day on Wednesday.

At least 240 racks of timber were destroyed and the damage bill is expected to be in excess of $800,000.

Tasmania Fire Service station officer Paul Catterrall said the blaze was “quite intense” with flames up to five metres high.

“It had the potential to spread over a large area as the fire progressed thorugh the racked area,” he said.

Firefighters from Launceston, Hadspen, Legana, Dilston and Prospect brigades were all on site.

“Launceston fire brigade was supported by the invaluable attendance of volunteer crews, there were 11 units – three of those brigades have compressed air foam capability which was used to knock the fire down and contain it.”

Detective Inspector John King said the fire was being treated as suspicious, with police and forensic investigators also at the scene on Wednesday.

“Our investigators will be looking around for CCTV in the area, speaking to any of the neighbouring properties to see if they had people present and may have seen any suspicious activity,” he said.

“There was no-one present at the yard at that time, there usually is, so that will also form a part of our investigation.”

ON SCENE: More than 44 firefighters were involved in fighting a timber yard fire on Tuesday night and throughout the day on Wednesday. Picture: Neil Richardson

ON SCENE: More than 44 firefighters were involved in fighting a timber yard fire on Tuesday night and throughout the day on Wednesday. Picture: Neil Richardson

In a statement, Neville-Smith Forest Products said the Mowbray plant would be operating “as normal”. 

“There has been no damage to the plant and equipment of the operation, there was no one hurt by the blaze,” the company said. 

“Operations will continue as normal at the plant and no employees will be affected.”

Anyone with information about the fire or who may have witnessed suspicious activity in the Remount Road area on Tuesday night has been urged to contact Crime Stoppers anonymously on 1800 333 000 or crimestopperstas.com.au.