Police seek youths over fires

18:40, Jan 14 2013

A spate of fires in Elles Rd, Invercargill early yesterday are being treated as suspicious.

Police are looking for two youths in connection with four or five scrub fires near Southland Hospital, in Elles Rd.

Senior Sergeant Dave Raynes, of Invercargill, said police attended the scene and attempted to track the youths, who were seen in the area, using police dogs but could not find them.

Police were very concerned about the possibility people were deliberately lighting fires.

Despite recent rain, there was still a lot of fuel with the top part of vegetation dry and flammable, Mr Raynes said.

Invercargill fire crews were called to the vegetation fires between 5am and 5.30am.

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Fire communications shift manager Brent Dunn said Kingswell and Invercargill station crews attended the fires.

There were reports of someone seen in the area at the time of the fires, he said.

All three fires were in the same area at the same time so were being treated as suspicious and police were investigating, Mr Dunn said.

Elles Rd resident Bevan McNaughton said he was woken yesterday morning by the sound of crackling outside his window.

"There was heavy crackling of a bamboo stand on fire which rapidly escalated," he said.

Mr McNaughton said he saw two fires at the Southland Hospital boiler entrance road.

"There was a fire on each side of the entrance, one on each side of the road," he said.

Anyone with information should contact Invercargill police.

The Southland Times