Two men killed after arson attack on a neighbouring panel shop in Sunshine North, Melbourne.

A ‘targeted’ fire that engulfed a Melbourne panel shop has killed two people who were sleeping at a neighbouring business.

Victoria Police say the incident was a ‘targeted’ attack, started by two people who spread accelerant on the area before setting it alight.

A white Ford Ranger vehicle was seen stopped outside the business on Burnett St, Sunshine Norther at the time of the fire about 4am on Friday.

Detective Inspector Chris Murray described the deaths of the two people as “nothing short of a tragedy”.

“We’ve got two innocent individuals who were caught up in what appears to be an arson attack,” he said.

“This has moved from an arson now to an arson causing death, and we hold them personally responsible for the death of these two innocent individuals.”

Detectives said the victims were not associated with the business that was set on fire.

The two who died at the scene have not yet been identified.

A worker from a neighbouring business told the Herald Sun he saw CCTV of one of the alleged perpetrators catching fire.
“There were two people — they lit the right hand corner of the building on fire,” he said.

“As they did that, one of the guys caught aflame, he was actually on fire, so he’s jumped the fence and jumped back in the car and they took off.”

The fire was contained by 6.55am, just under three hours after firefighters were called.

Fire Rescue Victoria Deputy Commissioner Michelle Cowling said that at one point, “approximately 50 firefighters” and “two aerial units” were working to extinguish the blaze.

“We are still finding significant hotspots due to the level of stuff that’s (inside) these two factories,” she said.

“Firefighting operations have not ceased and will continue throughout today and maybe into the night.”

A section of Bunnett Street has been closed as a result of the investigation.

Authorities do not believe the fire is connected to any other fires or investigations at this time.

Witnesses or those who have information have been asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 1800 333 000 or on their website.

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