Arsonists endanger South Auckland homes

JAY BOREHAM
Last updated 05:00 13/11/2012
Simeon Brown
CONCERN: Simeon Brown is worried by the amount of fires in Clendon Park which are threatening nearby homes.

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Arsonists targeting bushes and bins in Clendon are endangering homes, local residents say.

Firebugs lit four fires in Clendon parks, reserves and streets last Monday and have been an issue for the past few years, resident Simeon Brown said.

Brown's house backs on to the Clendon Reserve where flames came close to neighbouring properties.

"It is often kids - it happens every summer holidays or school holidays. If you don't have one, you are lucky."

He was concerned the latest incidents had occurred outside the school holidays and wants residents to be vigilant.

"In the past we have caught the arsonists so I just think it is just being aware.
 
"This is our bush and we as a community need to be prepared to stop it before it burns our bush away.

"Keep an eye on who's walking past, not in a nosy sense but just being aware that this is a risk and being prepared to do something about it by dialling 111 to stop it before it becomes any worse."

Fire Service risk management officer Phil Faidley said blazes like those in Clendon were increasing as were the risks involved with them.

"The nuisance fires that we have traditionally associated with events like Guy Fawkes and school holidays have seen an apparent increase in the South Auckland area and it is starting to get a little bit concerning," he said.

The service is looking at trends and working with the police "trying to identify who is responsible and hopefully nip this behaviour in the bud - if it is a behavioural thing".

He believes the fires are not intended to do too much damage.

"We need to find these people before these fires escalate and start causing some human damage.

"With summer coming and school holidays we are worried about schools, we are worried about parks, reserves, community facilities, sporting clubs, all these kinds of things.

"So if we can identify who is doing the fires we can help stop them."

Residents can contact the fire service or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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