Arson suspected in spate of fires

00:51, Mar 10 2014
boat fire
Firefighters work to put out a suspicious fire in a powerboat

Police believe four separate fires in Picton yesterday morning were deliberately lit.

The Picton Volunteer Fire Brigade was called to fires in four places, but in the same part of town, about 3am.

Police said in a statement that the callouts were to three boats and a campervan.

Craig Piner
Under investigation: Specialist fire investigator Craig Piner, left, and Constable Wayne Fransen, from Blenheim CIB, investigate the remains of a powerboat burnt in a suspicious fire in Picton early yesterday morning. Two more boats and a campervan in the same area of Picton were also burnt about the same time.

Two of the boats had been extensively damaged and one suffered moderate damage. One fire had also scorched the rear of a four-wheel-drive Range Rover parked with one of the boats.

One of the fires had scorched the side of a house and caused windows to break, the police statement said.

Police were keen to talk to anyone who had been in the Wairau Rd area about 3am yesterday and anyone who may know anything about the fires.


 Craig Piner
Close inspection: Craig Piner and Constable Fransen with a trailer-sailer yacht that was one of three burnt in fires about the same time in Picton early yesterday morning

Police had no further information yesterday.

Picton fire chief Wayne Wytenburg said he had to call Blenheim Fire Brigade to assist them with the callouts.

He could not comment on whether the fires were related.

Keeping watch: A policeman on guard outside a Picton property where a boat was burnt early yesterday morning

Police and fire safety were investigating the cause of the fires.

The fire service website lists the fires as:

2.57am: 47 Wairau Rd, Picton, structure fire.

3.01am: 2 Angle St, Picton, structure fire.

3.01am: 76 Wairau Rd, Picton, mobile property fire.

The website does not record the fourth callout.

The Marlborough Express