The fires occurred at two buildings owned by Icestone Gelato – its factory in Springmill Street, West Bowling and its ice cream parlour on Great Horton Road.
Both fires, which caused extensive damage, were believed to have been started deliberately, after entry to the premises was forced.
Crews from the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service sent four fire engines to the blaze at Icestone’s parlour at 3:47am on December 24 2016.
The factory fire was attended by 60 fire fighters and eight fire engines at 4am. About 90% of the factory was damaged by the fire.
Had to be rescued
Factory staff had to be rescued from the premises. Also evacuated were a family living in a flat above the Great Horton Road cafe.
Detective inspector Mick Ryan, of Bradford District Criminal Investigation Department, said both incidents were being treated as arson and he believed they were linked. The police said they were targeted attacks.
“We are carrying out extensive enquiries to establish the full circumstances surrounding these incidents and would like to hear from anyone who witnessed either incident or saw anyone acting suspiciously in the area in the time leading up to them,” said Ryan.
“These were very serious incidents, which placed the lives of the people living above the shop and employees at the [Factory] at risk.”
Icestone runs a chain of restaurants that specialises in desserts and has stores in Bradford, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham.
The fires at Icestone’s café and factory followed a blaze at RF Brookes’s factory on Azalea Road in Rogerstone, Newport on December 23 2016.
The fire was located at the unit making Yorkshire puddings at the factory and is the third at the site last year. It was attended by fire fighters from South Wales Fire and Rescue Service.
Three crews arrived at the scene at 5:39am, with a fourth requested at 6:23am due to the extent of the blaze.