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Melbourne bank fire: Suspect a member of Burmese community who was seeking temporary protection visa.

The suspect in an explosion at a Commonwealth Bank branch at Springvale, in Melbourne’s south-east, is a member of the Burmese community who arrived by boat in Australia in 2013 and was seeking a temporary protection visa.

Pamela Curr, formerly with the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, said contacts had told her the man went into detention after arriving on a bridging visa.

The man had been waiting for a letter from the Immigration Department offering him a temporary protection visa (TPV), as a member of a cohort of refugees who were fast-tracked following legislation passed in 2014, Ms Curr said.

A member of the Burmese Rohinyga community in Melbourne, Habib Habib, said the man was close to his friends in the small local community, and he was told the man had been struggling mentally and financially.

Mr Habib said the man was single and lived with other single men in Springvale.

“It should not have happened. It is nothing to do with Commonwealth Bank and the people with those injuries,” Mr Habib said.

“So I’m very sorry for that.”

He said the man was mentally ill and weighed down by financial problems and concerns about his immigration status and his family back home.

Mr Habib said the man was from the southern part of Myanmar, was a Muslim and identified as Rohingya.

The man arrived when he was under-age and should be cared for, Mr Habib said.

“His service provider should’ve been aware about that and Immigration Department must know about that,” he said.

“They have to look after the people. They have responsibilities So maybe they are not doing enough.”

Two people in critical condition

Twenty-seven people, including several children, were injured after a man walked into the bank in Springvale Road on Friday and started a fire.

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CCTV footage showed a man walking down the street carrying a petrol container moments before a loud explosion and fire at the bank.

A 21-year-old Springvale man is under police guard in hospital.

Six victims were taken to the Alfred Hospital burns unit.

One patient remains in a critical condition, but it is not clear if this is the suspect.

A second person is critical but stable, and four other patients are listed a being in a stable condition.

Monash Medical Centre cared for 13 patients, including three children. All were in a satisfactory condition.

Dandenong hospital treated 11 patients.

Bank remains crime scene

The bank on the busy shopping strip 23 kilometres from the Melbourne CBD, is boarded up.

Today, locals said they were shocked by what happened.

“I heard about the news and I was a bit worried [about] one of my two friends working there,” one woman said.

“[I’m] very, very scared, because you can see that this can happen any time,” another woman said.

Police responded to reports that a man with accelerant had started a fire in the bank on Springvale Road, Springvale around 11:30am.

The man was later found at the rear of the bank and was taken to hospital.

Victoria Ambulance treated 27 people and had to escalate the response to the highest level of its emergency plan.

This post originally appeared on ABC News.


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