A FIRE has destroyed Horsham Florist on Saturday morning.
Horsham Police are treating the fire as suspicious after the business was ransacked and set alight.
Detective Senior Constable Neale Roberts said the offender broke into the business between 2am and 6am.
“Someone has broken into the business through the roof, ransacked the offices and sales area, stole cash and then lit the place on fire to destroy any DNA and forensic evidence,” he said.
Horsham Police and the Country Fire Authority arrived at the scene at about 6.30am. An arson chemist from Melbourne and the arson squad were also onsite and will oversee the ongoing investigation.
Horsham Florist has suffered extensive damage to both the building and its stock, as well as, smoke damage.
Detective Senior Constable Roberts estimated about $50,000 worth of damage to the business on Saturday morning.
After the arson chemist examined the site, he said the figure might “double,” but it was too difficult to put a figure on the damage.
“The owners are obviously devastated,” he said. “It’s a burglary, theft and arson.”
There was also smoke damage to neighbouring businesses, Shine Hairdressing and Jade Lantern. Shine Hairdressing has remained open for business.
It is not what we expected to wake up to on a Saturday morning.Heather Harrison
Horsham Florist owners Heather Harrison, Rosemary Arnott and Susan McQueen are devastated that their business was destroyed by a fire on Saturday morning.
Mrs Harrison said they were shocked.
“It is not what we expected to wake up to on a Saturday morning,” she said. “I haven’t slept well since hearing the news. It was numbing at first, but it is starting to hit.”
The iconic Horsham business opened in 1970 by Mabel Foreman who passed the keys down to her three daughters on June 30, 2007.
The family-owned and operated business has been located at Roberts Avenue for over 20 years.
Mrs Harrison said they are unsure when the business will be able to reopen at this stage.
“By the looks of the damage, we will not be able to continue working from the shop,” she said. “At the moment, we need to go into the store and find out what we still have left, but by the looks of it everything has been destroyed.
“We are all a bit shocked at the moment, but we will work it out.”
The fire has been treated as suspicious after the business was ransacked and set alight.
Mrs Harrison said she has not taken the fire as a personal attack.
“It was just an opportunity for whoever set the fire to cover their tracks,” she said. “They came through the roof and I think they saw the security cameras and they had to destroy the evidence and cover up the DNA.”
Mrs Harrison said many clients were affected by the fire because records of pre-orders were destroyed.
“We have no idea who has pre-order, but we are trying to sort through it,” she said.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Horsham Police on 5382 9200.
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