Man faces three murder charges over Melbourne fatal factory fire

A man has been charged with three counts of murder in relation to a suspicious factory fire in Melbourne's west in which three homeless people perished.

Police charged Darren Patrick Clover, 52, with three counts of murder after arresting him on Swantson Street in the centre of Melbourne on Thursday afternoon.

Mr Clover appeared at an out of session's court hearing and was remanded in custody.

When asked if he had any concerns about being held by police, Mr Clover said, "The first person I see I'm probably going to kill."

Three people died in the fire that gutted the factory. Source: AAP

Darren Patrick Clover allegedly filled the jerrycan before starting the fire. Source: AAP

Police allege Mr Clover walked to service station near the the factory in Footscray and paid for $2 worth of petrol.

He then allegedly took the petrol in a small plastic jerrycan to the Footscray ropeworks factory, pouring the fuel on a door and setting it alight.

Three bodies were found shortly after firefighters extinguished the blaze in a rear room of the old factory just after midnight.

Mr Clover has been charged with three counts of murder and arson. Source: AAP

They are believed to be squatters who had lived in the small room for months, if not years.

The people inside had reportedly chained chained the doors inside the building to protect themselves, but the security measure ironically prevented their escape.

The victims have not yet been named by police.

It is not clear whether the alleged arson murders were part of an ongoing dispute or a random attack.

The factory site had been marked for redevelopment and there had been efforts to remove the squatters for some time.

Early on Friday morning police said they had charged Mr Clover with three counts of murder, three counts of arson causing death and arson.

Mr Clover will appear at the Melbourne Magistrates' Court later on Friday.