Suspicious fires on the increase
In the past month South Waikato has had triple the number of suspicious fires it usually has but fire authorities say residents have nothing to fear.
The district notched up one suspicious fire a year over the past three years but a recent run of blazes, including one which left Whakamaru’s Gasoline Alley Services petrol station destroyed, has pushed this year’s total to three, all within recent weeks.
Other fires were in Tokoroa when accelerant was poured into the bathroom of a Glencorse St house on July 11 while an unoccupied house was also deliberately torched last week.
Acting Tokoroa fire chief Dave Morris said his community should not worry about the number of recent suspicious fires.
‘‘I would say it’s coincidental. If we had a serial arsonist we would know about it,’’ Mr Morris said.
The number of brigade callouts for the district was up to 167 compared with 147 last year.
Former fire chief Ian Wellings, now South Waikato’s principal rural fire officer, had noticed an increase in the number of suspicious fires but agreed they weren’t linked.
‘‘We seem to have a run in Tokoroa and then it stops.’’
CAUSE UNKNOWN: The cause of the fire at Whakamaru’s Gasoline Alley is still unknown.