South Melbourne's The Albion, formerly known as The Motel, has been badly damaged by fire with arson suspected to be the cause of the blaze.

On Monday 5 October at approximately 6.30am, a construction foreman entered the site to find two balaclava-clad men close to where the fire originated. The two men allegedly attacked the foreman shortly before fleeing the scene.

As reported by The Age, construction workers arrived at the scene shortly afterwards to find the foreman with a bloodied face and the venue alight.

Arson squads arrived at the scene at around 9am and police have since issued a statement announcing that they are treating the fire as suspicious.

Acting detective senior sergeant, Dave Cox said that the foreman was unable to tell police what his attackers moves were after he was punched, however he was able to give a rough description of the pair, noting that one man was distinctly taller than the other.

According to the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, the fire spread through all three levels of the building with hot spots still burning at 10.30am. The venue is located less than 100 meters from an industrial gas supplier.

MFB acting assistant chief fire officer, Dominic Scarfe said that most of the fire was contained to the pub, however one wall of a neighbouring building was affected. Scarfe added that the structural integrity of the building may also be compromised as cracks have appeared in some of the walls.

Investigators have spoken with a number of people connected with the venue and have collected CCTV footage from adjoining businesses.


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