Hunt for arsonist who destroyed three buses in Paignton bus station blaze
POLICE are studying CCTV in the hunt for the arsonist who set fire to three buses in Paignton causing £120,000 of damage.
Two double deckers and a single decker were destroyed in the blaze at the bus station.
Fire investigators have looked through the wreckage and decided the fire was started deliberately.
Services were only slightly disrupted by the early morning blaze which engulfed the three buses, melted a traffic light and singed some nearby trees.
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Police say they are looking for a man seen at the station in Great Western Road at about 4.30am on Monday.
Fire control received more than 25 calls reporting a bus was on fire.
Two fire engines from Paignton and one from Torquay were sent.
When they arrived the three buses were well alight with flames shooting into the night sky and smoke billowing across the station.
Paignton watch manager Keith Tuckerman said: "We had it under control in about half-an-hour using compressed air foam and hose reel jets.
"It was a serious fire and the buses were severely damaged."
There was slight disruption to early morning services on Monday as reserve buses were called into action and fire crews and police, who remained at the scene for several hours, closed off the road.
The three buses were cordoned off while a fire investigation took place and police took away the CCTV.
By late morning on Monday, Stagecoach said services were running normally.
All that was left of the two double decker buses was a collapsed tangle of charred metal and plastic with little remaining upright and the chassis exposed.
The single decker was less severely burnt but was still damaged beyond repair.
Mike Bishop, engineering director from Stagecoach, said: "We have got CCTV images of the bus station and we believe they show somebody here at the time of the fire.
"The police have taken the CCTV away to have a closer look as part of their investigation.
"It is not uncommon for people to break into buses and cause damage, although why they do it is a mystery."
He said the double deckers destroyed would have been used on the number 5 route to Marldon and number 7 to Brixham.
The smaller bus would have been the 12a and C route.
Police said they were alerted after members of the public reported a loud explosion.
A statement by Stagecoach said: "No one is believed to have been injured and there has been no damage to the depot building itself.
"We are helping police in any way that we can with their investigation into the fire, including supplying CCTV footage.
"We would also urge anyone with information about the incident to contact police."
A police spokesman said: "A joint investigation will be taking place into the cause of the fire which is being treated as suspected arson.
"Two double deck buses and one single deck bus have been destroyed with an estimated damage cost of around £120,000.
"Police are appealing for anyone who was in the area of the town centre or anyone with information concerning the incident to contact them on 101 quoting log 77 300712."