Subsequent detailed examination of the ground floor revealed that the office door and safe were open at the time of the fire, numerous disposable gas torches and lighters had been removed from their display packaging and scattered around, and there were separate points of ignition in the shop aisles and the concealed office. The fire was found to have been started deliberately. Separate ignition of the straw bales on the first floor had involved the electrical equipment and led to the arc damage.
Further enquiries by the insurer’s factual investigator found discrepancies in the financial accounts and inconsistent versions of events from one of the employees. He was then investigated by police and later charged with criminal offences.