Children may be behind Kaiapoi fires
The same group of children is thought to be responsible for three suspicious fires in Kaiapoi in less than two weeks.
Detective Sergeant Rex Barnett said three children, aged 11 to 15, had been spoken to by police, and Youth Aid was now involved.
Investigators believed the group was responsible for the fires, which destroyed an abandoned Hilton St villa last week, badly damaged the former Kaiapoi Kidsfirst Kindergarten on Monday night and a third suspicious fire that did not take hold on Tuesday.
All three were deemed arsons.
Paint had been strewn around the inside of the brick Kidsfirst building, earmarked for demolition, and there was evidence a squatter had been occupying the Hilton St home.
''We think they are all connected,'' Barnett said.
Because the suspects are all juveniles, they cannot be criminally charged.
''We are working through the issues with the parents and Youth Aid,'' Barnett said.
Meanwhile, police investigating a suspicious fire in a Leeston home early on Tuesday say they have spoken to ''a number of people of interest'' and are ''following positive lines of inquiry''.
The High St home was extensively damaged in the blaze, reported at 5.39am.
The house was being lived in, but the occupants, including an 11-month-old boy, were not home when the fire broke out.
Detective Sergeant Al Lester said that after a scene examination by fire investigators, it was ''evident'' the fire did not start from ''natural causes''.
''The inference there is it had to be started by somebody,'' he said.
Lester would not be drawn on where in the house the fire started.
- © Fairfax NZ News