Firefighters fear arson spree

Six fires on Cardinia Road in Cardinia on Saturday afternoon are believed to be deliberately lit. 95454

SIX fires on Cardinia Road on Saturday afternoon that narrowly avoided homes are believed to have been deliberately lit.
CFA District 8 operations manager Trevor Owen said he was concerned about the fires.
“The fires came very close (to properties),” he said.
“It is malicious to go out on days of high fire dangers and deliberately start a fire.”
“We are working hard with the police to assist them in any way we can to bring these people to justice.
“The fires were not that off from properties and not only does that endanger houses, it’s risking lives as well – the safety of the CFA member and the risk to the community as well.”
CFA aircraft were used to help extinguish the fires which were lit close to each other about 12.45pm but there was no damage to property reported.
Mr Owen said the community would be outraged by those who starts fires.
He said it was only because of the quick thinking and fast action of the 100 fire-fighters on the day that there wasn’t more damage.
“I would be amazed that whoever it is hasn’t been seen,” he said.
“I just find it brazen that they do it.”
More than 25 trucks attended the fires which also closed roads between Princes Freeway and Ballarto Road.
Acting Senior Sergeant Pat McGavigan said Cardinia CIU is investigating the fires.
“We really need the public’s help with this one – we have stepped up our patrols this fire season but we are asking members of the public to help keep an eye out and report anything suspicious,” he said.
Captain of the Officer Fire Brigade Garry Barnes said they were called to a grass and scrub fire on the corner of Cardinia and Patterson Roads in Officer South.
As firefighters were travelling to the incident, they noticed several other columns of smoke and put in a request for more trucks.
“There were reports of houses and garages under threat so water bombing aircraft were also called in to assist with the attack,” Mr Barnes said.
“In such trying conditions, crews did an incredible job in containing the 12 hectare fire.
“Crews stayed at the scene well into the night extinguishing hot spots and patrolling the area to ensure it was safe.”
Police and fire-fighters also attended a one and a half metre grassfire on Aura Vale Road in Emerald last Wednesday, which is believed to have been deliberately lit. It was extinguished by a passer-by.
Pakenham police were also called to fires in Heath Hill and the Fallingwater estate on Friday night.
There was also a fire started near the Cockatoo Recreation Reserve on the weekend and police believe it was deliberately lit but no damage was reported.
Witnesses for the Emerald or Cockatoo fires are urged to contact Sergeant Fiona Tolmie at Emerald Police Station on 5968 4422.