Competition not Kanye to blame for ‘targeted’ factory fire, owner says

The owner of a Melbourne factory set on fire in Clayton South last week says the company may have been a victim of its own success.

Co-owner Noah Hunter said it was more likely that than any links with Kanye West’s new wife Bianca Censori that saw arsonists set the factory ablaze last Thursday.

Firefighters at the scene of a deliberately lit factory fire at Clayton South.Credit:Nine News

The e-commerce business will have to be torn down due to the estimated $2m in damage. The business is co-owned by Nick Forge the former partner of Censori who shot into the headlines after marrying West earlier this month.

Hunter though said he wasn’t aware the connection with Censori had anything to do with the incident, and it was more likely linked to a competitor.

“I would just be speculating because we really don’t know” said Hunter.

“But if I had to guess, I mean, we’re an extremely fast-growing business. We’ve been on the scene for two years, and we’re really disrupting this industry and growing quickly.

“So, there are competitors on the space [that] definitely know about us. So maybe that’s why.”

Three males went to the Meriton Place complex in a blue Volkswagon Golf about 10pm on January 26, police said.

Two of the group smashed through the front door of the Future Fulfilment warehouse and spread accelerant inside while a third offender spread the fuel outside and set it on fire.

Detective Senior Sergeant Grant Lewis said on Friday one of the trio may have injured himself during the attack.

Detective Senior Sergeant Grant Lewis from the Moorabbin Crime Investigation Unit updates the media on the factory fire on Friday.Credit:Nine News

“There is a possible injury to one male due to him lighting the fire, and may have caught fire to himself,” Lewis said.

Officers were investigating whether someone with burn injuries sought medical attention, he said.

He said the “brazen and risky” attack appeared targeted, but the motive wasn’t clear.

“They’re clearly motivated, and they’re clearly angry and aggressive, and they had a point to prove,” he said.

Police released CCTV footage of the incident.

Lewis said the footage was clear and authorities had an accurate description of the car involved.

The factory housed a range of stock from online businesses, including health and beauty products, baby brands, electronics, clothing, shoes and jewellery.

“It’s shattering because although it affects us, it’s really these small businesses that we service that are really out here,” said Hunter.

“This is everything to them, their stock.”

Firefighters work to put out the blaze at the factory. Credit:Nine News

One offender appears to be wearing black pants, a black T-shirt, black shoes and a black beanie with a headlamp.

Another is dressed all in black clothing, with a headlamp.

While a third appears to be wearing black pants, a long white T-shirt, a cream-coloured hooded jumper and white shoes.

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