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Arson probe after another headshop fire

An investigation is under way after a second headshop was destroyed by fire in Dublin city centre in the space of just four days.

Gardai are now investigating if there is any link between the firebombing of the Happy Hippy shop on North Frederick Street last night and a fire at the Nirvana headshop on Capel Street last Friday.

The latest incident happened yesterday at 9.25pm when the Happy Hippy shop on North Frederick Street went up in flames. Gardai believe an accelerant, possibly a petrol bomb, was used in the attack.

One man was hospitalised after the fire, which gutted the ground floor of the shop.

He was treated for the effects of smoke inhalation, though his condition is not believed to be serious.

Twenty firefighters from Dublin Fire Brigade rushed to the scene and brought the blaze under control within an hour.

A forensic examination of the building is due to be carried out today. The premises is the second headshop to be hit by fire in less than a week.

Last Friday, the Nirvana store on Dublin's Capel Street was destroyed in an inferno that took Dublin fire brigade six hours to extinguish.

Severe damage was also caused to two neighbouring shops, which now face demolition.

Nirvana owner Jim Bellamysaid he believed the fire was started deliberately due to growing public criticism of the stores, which sell so-called ‘legal highs' that mimic the effects of banned substances.

“I know there is foul play. Somebody has taken the law into their own hands,” Mr Bellamy said.

During the fire in the Capel Street premises a bag of cash, believed to be €485,000, was recovered by fire crews.

It was discovered in the basement of the building and was later held by gardai with the permission of the owner.

Mr Bellamy opened a string of adult shops in Ireland in the Nineties. He was the head of Utopia – the first chain of adult shops in the country.

All the premises, like the headshops, were in central locations.