THE HUNT for Wonthaggi’s serial arsonist has intensified, with detectives form the Arson and Explosives Squad continuing to assist local police.
Detectives now believe the latest blaze – a small bushland fire at the end of Caledonian Crescent last fortnight – may be linked to numerous other deliberately-lit fires.
Detectives also believe as many as 16 fires – dating all the way back to early January – could have been caused by the same offender or offenders.
So far, no one has been injured as a result of the fires, but several have been lit in the vicinity of homes that have been occupied at the time.
Acting Sergeant Adrian Condron from Bass Coast Criminal Investigation Unit (CIU) urged local residents to remain vigilant.
“Police encourage anyone with information on these or any other fires to come forward,” he said.
“We ask that anyone with information contacts police at the earliest opportunity so we have the best chance of following information up.
“Unfortunately people often may hold on to information or not report an incident for several days.
“If you see something, say something – no matter how insignificant it might seem, it might just be the piece of information investigators need.”
Police are also advising all Wonthaggi residents to ensure they have working smoke alarms in their properties and to consider installing security lighting.
The 16 fires include:
• Parkland fire at Reed Crescent on January 2
• Carport fire at Merrin Crescent on January 17
• House fire at Stewart Street on January 19
• Grass fire at Reed Crescent on January 27
• Grass fire at Reed Crescent on January 29
• Fence fire at Reed Crescent on February 1
• Equipment fire at Stewart Street on April 17
• Vacant house fire at Broome Crescent on April 26
• Porch fire at Broome Crescent on April 26
• Shed and car fire at Reed Crescent on April 26
• Shed fire at Merrin Crescent on April 26
• Furnished vacant house fire at Stewart Street on May 1
• House fire at Stewart Street on May 8
• House fire at Stewart Street on May 15
• Bushland fire at Caledonian Crescent on May 26.
Police are urging anyone with information about the fires to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit www.crimestoppersvic.com.au to make a confidential report.
Arsonist strikes at school?
A SMALL fire at Wonthaggi Primary School is believed to have been deliberately lit, with detectives investigating whether it is linked to the spate of recent arson attacks.
Wonthaggi Senior Sergeant Steve Gibson said the fire appears to have been started in two wheelie bins full of paper.
CFA volunteers were called to the site after 2am last Sunday morning, extinguishing the fire at the rear of a shed behind the school’s oval.
Bass Coast CIU detectives are investigating and the fire will be added to the list of 16 others linked to Wonthaggi’s serial arsonist.