Murdoch Executive Blames Fired Printers for $9-Million Blaze
One of London’s most spectacular fires in years Tuesday destroyed a giant warehouse belonging to news baron Rupert Murdoch and sparked a war of words between his company and fired printers over who set it.
As he surveyed damage estimated at $9 million to the riverside newsprint-storage building, Bruce Matthews, managing director of Murdoch’s News International parent company, blamed it on sabotage by printers Murdoch fired four months ago in a dispute over new technology .
Union leader Brenda Dean condemned the accusation as “absolutely disgraceful.” Other unionists who have manned picket lines outside Murdoch’s high-technology plant in East London since January suggested that the company itself may have started the fire.
Authorities said only that they are treating the blaze as “suspicious” and that they are questioning witnesses claiming to have seen “something being thrown into the building” by two men who fled on foot.