ONE of Wonthaggi CFA’s leading members says the brigade has been left “disturbed” by the six deliberately lit fires in Wonthaggi in the past fortnight.
Community safety lieutenant, Peter Dell, said fires such as the four responded to on Saturday night can have a life-threatening impact, and not just on those who occupy the properties affected.
“We could have a legitimate fire elsewhere where someone is in need, and we’re out there dealing with a fire that was unnecessary,” Lt Dell said.
Lt Dell added that just because several of the recent fires have destroyed homes that were vacant doesn’t mean the public isn’t at risk.
“These homes are vacant, but who’s to say there’s not squatters in there?
“We turn up and maybe it’s a vacant house, but we have to treat it like there could be someone in there.”
The busy Saturday night for local crews started in Broome Street when appliances from Wonthaggi and Inverloch arrived to a vacant home that was completely engulfed just before midnight.
As crews were battling this fire, a neighbour from down the road notified members of another fire on a front porch of an occupied house.
Crews were quickly deployed to this one and managed to save the building from further damage.
“We have been cautious of most fires as there appears to have been a spate of suspect fires in the area of late,” Wonthaggi lieutenant Jamie Moresco said.
“Additional fire crews were called into the area from as far away as Phillip Island and San Remo when firefighters noticed another fire in Merrin Crescent that involved a shed.”
Not long after that a garage, car and motorbike were destroyed in Reed Crescent.
“Deliberately lit fire calls take volunteer firefighters away from workplaces, families and potentially genuine emergencies. It also means our critical resources are being deployed unnecessarily,” CFA District 8 Operations Officer Cliff O’Connor said.