A market trader says he and colleagues felt it was only a matter of time before a stall in Northampton Market Square caught fire.
Two stalls in the Market Square were badly damaged overnight, sometime between the traders leaving yesterday afternoon and early this morning.
Fruit and veg seller Eamon Fitzpatrick, who owns the stalls, said he would lose several days’ trade as a result - but said the fire had not come as a complete surprise.
He said: “There are several groups of people hanging round who use the square when we leave. It was inevitable something was going to happen. We all said it.
“Maybe it wasn’t on purpose, but it has wiped me out for a week,” he said.
The stalls can be made right but Mr Fitzpatrick said it would take two or three days and he would have to pay staff and pay the produce bill even though he would not be able to sell any.
It is believed the incident will have been captured on CCTV.
Witnesses to the incident, or anyone with information, can call Northamptonshire Police on 101.
Alternatively, they can call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.