3 killed in fire at abandoned Melbourne factory

Indo Asian News Service

Melbourne, March 2 (IANS) Three people died in a "suspicious" fire at an abandoned factory in Melbourne, Australia, police said on Thursday.

Emergency services were called to the rear of the old Kinnears factory in Footscray at about 11,30 p.m., on Wednesday night, following reports of a fire and explosions, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

Three bodies were found inside and are yet to be identified, but police believe the victims were two men and a woman.

Detective Senior Sergeant Brad Nichols said police did not yet know what started the blaze but it was being treated as "suspicious".

According to neighbours, the factory was often used as a shelter by homeless people who were living in it for more than a year.

One witness, a taxi driver, said he had heard screams coming from the factory.

"A few minutes later I saw the fire engines come," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The site was originally Victoria state's largest ropeworks and operated from 1903 to 2002.

After the factory shut, the state government backed plans to build a large apartment complex on the site.