Po­lice pon­der link in fire and as­sault

The Timaru Herald - - NEWS - Mark Quin­li­van

Po­lice say they can­not rule out a link as they try to piece to­gether a sus­pi­cious fire and a se­ri­ous as­sault on Mor­gans Rd in Ti­maru on Tues­day night.

The fire ripped through a wing of the for­mer St Vian­ney’s Home of Com­pas­sion com­plex just after a se­ri­ous home in­va­sion as­sault nearby.

Po­lice are search­ing for two men in re­la­tion to the as­sault while nearby the fire re­quired six crews, in­clud­ing a spe­cial­ist com­mand unit and two ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cers, to put out.

De­tec­tive Se­nior Sergeant Richard Quested, of Ti­maru, said it was early days in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into both in­ci­dents.

‘‘We don’t have a lot of in­for­ma­tion at the mo­ment.

‘‘We’re just car­ry­ing out the in­ves­ti­ga­tion and just try­ing to piece to­gether what’s ac­tu­ally hap­pened.

‘‘It seems un­usual that the two things have hap­pened right there to­gether, but we’ve got no ev­i­dence to say they’re linked.’’

Quested said as part of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into both mat­ters, a link was an ‘‘ob­vi­ous av­enue’’ to ex­plore.

‘‘We can’t rule it and we can’t rule it in,’’ he said.

Quested said po­lice were aware of in­for­ma­tion that peo­ple had been go­ing in and out of the St Vian­ney’s build­ing since it had been aban­doned.

Po­lice had been warn­ing peo­ple to stay out of the build­ing as early as 2013.

Sergeant Ge­off McCrostie, of Ti­maru, said at the time the build­ing was pri­vate prop­erty and not for peo­ple to ex­plore.

JOHN BISSET/STUFF

Fire­fight­ers bring­ing the St Vian­ney’s fire un­der con­trol.

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