The fire that destroyed The Garter Press building was highly suspicious, but not definitely malicious, a police inquiry has revealed today.
According to officials, the blaze which destroyed the publication’s Castlereagh Street headquarters wasn’t necessarily “the result of premediated and meticulously distributed incendiary devices throughout the office.” Investigators also discovered incendiary devices, centralised around The Garter’s main boardroom, with accelerant on every floor, but stated this was not necessarily how the fire started.
“It is, however extraordinarily unlikely, entirely within the realms of possibility that something other than the incendiary devices and accelerant sparked the flame…” investigators admitted.
The fire started (and it could well have done so without human intervention) at around 11pm on the night of January the 5th. At the time of the blaze, the office was entirely empty of employees notwithstanding a collection of senior Garter reporters and editors who had been assembled for an emergency editorial meeting regarding the future format of the paper, sources report.
Deputy Police Commissioner Brenda Notatokenczic said “while a lot of signs point to malicious intent, no, the inquiry could not 100% rule out the possibility that the fire was an accident.”
“We are encouraging anyone with information about the [possibly unremarkable] incident to come forward.”
The January 5 fire killed a total of sixteen staff and occurred just two weeks after executives and boardmembers of The Garter Press announced plans to convert Australia’s oldest broadsheet to a tabloid format. All those who perished in the blaze were in favour of the change.
Due to the tricky nature of ontology, officials cannot know for sure if there is any connection between the fire at The Garter Offices, and another fire that, on the same night, took the life of former executive editor Dolores Pellicer in her home. Flying in the face of decency and doubt, police are treating the incident at home with the same, exacting degree of scrutiny as they are the blaze that swept through the main offices (too much!).
The inquiry has taken nearly two months due to instances of missing evidence, fruitless lines of questioning, and a uniform lack of testimony from current Garter employees.
This is the first issue of The Garter Press to be published since the fire devastated the media outlet in January.