Suspicious fires could be linked

NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 12:50 23/01/2014
Stanmore Rd fire
Stacy Squires/Fairfax NZ

SUSPICIOUS: Investigators comb the scene at a group of red-zoned flats on Stanmore Rd.

Riverside Rd fire
Stacy Squires/Fairfax NZ
CORDONED OFF: This small building on River Rd was also ablaze.

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Investigations are underway after three suspicious fires in Christchurch overnight.

Detective Inspector Greg Murton said police were investigating whether the fires were connected. Patrols in red-zone areas would increase following the fires. 

The most serious of the three incidents was reported about 5.40am today at a group of red-zoned flats on Stanmore Rd, opposite the Linwood Bowling Club.

Just after the Stanmore Rd fire, firefighters were called at 6.15am to a blaze in a small building on red-zoned property on River Rd. 

The incidents follow a small fire in an empty two-storey state house on Shirley Rd last night.

"There have been a number of similar fires in the area over the past months and police resources are being focused on these fires and apprehending the offenders," Murton said.

There was a risk that someone squatting at an abandoned property could be harmed by a deliberately lit fire, he said. 

Anyone found to have committed an arson in any property could face up to 14 years imprisonment.

Murton urged residents to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity around abandoned properties to police immediately.

Anyone with information about any of the latest incidents is asked to contact Christchurch police on 03 363 7400, or can provide information anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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