Suspicious fire number two

The ruins of the tow truck business in Elliott Rd, South Lismore.
The ruins of the tow truck business in Elliott Rd, South Lismore. Jay Cronan

THE tow truck operator who had two of his businesses burnt down in suspicious fires in less than a week says he does not know who has targeted him or why.

But the father of five and long-time local, Matt Bidner, does believe the blazes were targeted arson attacks.

Last Friday, Mr Bidner's Cheepa Towing and Salvage business on Keen Street in Lismore was destroyed by fire.

The shock from that was still raw when his workshop on Elliott Rd at South Lismore was gutted by fire on Thursday. That fire destroyed his children's bikes.

The fire has not beaten his resilience; his tow truck business is still trading but he estimates he has lost more than $100,000.

"We have put in plenty of years building up," he said.

He said he had provided some pointers and information to police.

Mechanics equipment, a hoist and a commercial shed were destroyed in the Lockett St (backing onto Keen St) fire last Friday and five cars and 300 tyres were lost in this week's fire.

The Lismore Speedway fan also had his race cars incinerated in the blaze.

"I have been doing speedway for three or four seasons but not as frequent as I would have liked recently because of time constraints," he said.

"This just means I have nothing to go back to."

Mr Bidner, has lived in Lismore since he was 12 and started his business eight years ago with a flatbed truck, carting vehicles between car auctions in Brisbane and the Northern Rivers.

An unexpected demand drove Mr Bidner's business from something "small and simple" to a successful venture.

"There was a demand from people looking for another outlet to get their stuff done," he said.

Mr Bidner is also known around town for helping evacuate caravans from the flood prone Lismore Tourist Caravan Park each time a deluge occurs.

Detective Inspector Greg Moore said police were not ruling out any links between the fires and ask anyone with information to call Lismore Police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Topics:  business fire suspicious

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