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Video shows moment Napier restaurant Shani’s is set alight

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The moment Shani’s Family Eatery and Bar in Napier was set on fire has been captured in an astonishing video. Video / Supplied

Incredible video shows the moment a pair attempted to burn down a popular Napier restaurant, which the owner says would have likely been destroyed if not for the quick response of firefighters.

Shani’s Family Eatery and Bar owner Shani Ehlers said the incident on Saturday, at about 3am, was frustrating and upsetting and “the last thing that any business needs”.

In security footage released to Hawke’s Bay Today by Ehlers, two people wearing masks, gloves and hoodies can be seen outside the Taradale restaurant just before the arson.

Footage from inside at the same time shows a window being smashed and a liquid (likely an accelerant) then being poured through the broken window.

The fire appeared to be started by a firework. Photo / Supplied
The fire appeared to be started by a firework. Photo / Supplied

A petrol canister and lit firework are then tossed inside, igniting a fire.

Ehlers said the offenders did not steal anything from the venue and fled across Lee Rd and down an alleyway.

A customer at the nearby McDonald’s drive-through saw smoke coming from the restaurant and called 111. An alarm at Shani’s was also triggered.

Ehlers said the fire caused a lot of damage to the ground floor, but it would have been much worse if not for firefighters.

Shani's restaurant owner Shani Ehlers with her newborn daughter outside the damaged restaurant in Napier. Photo / Supplied
Shani’s restaurant owner Shani Ehlers with her newborn daughter outside the damaged restaurant in Napier. Photo / Supplied

“Their response time was absolutely unbelievable, It was within five minutes kind of thing,” she said.

“They did say had they been five minutes later the fire would have likely broken through into the ceiling cavity and at that point it just takes off and the whole building would have likely gone up in flames.”

Remarkably, the venue has been able to continue operating, and the restaurant is utilising the upstairs area to cater for customers with normal hours.

The kitchen also remains in full operation.

Damage inside the restaurant a day after the blaze. Photo / Ian Cooper
Damage inside the restaurant a day after the blaze. Photo / Ian Cooper

Ehlers, who is currently looking after her newborn baby girl, said it was tough on her and her husband Snedden D’Costa, who run the business.

She said while they have insurance there was a lot of work ahead in replacing and fixing the damage.

“It’s frustrating and it’s upsetting, and the last thing that any business needs.”

She encouraged anyone who might have information about the arson or know the offenders to contact police.

The two alleged arsonists involved in the blaze early on Saturday morning. Photo / Supplied
The two alleged arsonists involved in the blaze early on Saturday morning. Photo / Supplied

She thanked the Hawke’s Bay community for “their great support” which included a wave of comments on social media.

Ehlers said there was damage to flooring and the ceiling, window frames, and some tables and chairs, and the full extent would be known later this week.

A police spokesperson said they were investigating and “inquiries into the circumstances are ongoing”.

Three fire trucks from Taradale and Napier fire stations responded to the blaze.

If you have information that could assist police, call 105 or contact Crime Stoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Shooting in Hastings

Meanwhile in Hastings, police are appealing for information after a shotgun round was fired at the entrance of a bar during the early hours of Sunday, narrowly missing people inside.

The incident happened at Bar 2013 on Karamu Rd South, about 1.40am.

Detective Sergeant Kate Hyde said they believed the shot was fired from a passing car.

“The bar was busy with patrons at the time and it’s by pure chance nobody was seriously injured.

“Some of the shot from the round went into the garden bar area.”

Police evacuated the popular Hastings bar after the incident with a witness telling Hawke’s Bay Today that officers had said it was due to reports of a shooting.

By mid-morning on Sunday, there was no indication of anything out of the ordinary at the site.

There was no sign of police presence or tape, though a spokesman did say a scene guard had been stationed overnight.

Investigations were ongoing, with those who witnessed anything urged to get in contact with police using the 105 line.



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