Two fires in two hours: Arsonists sought in Gunnedah

FIRE inspectors say two fires in the space of two hours at Gunnedah were deliberately lit and bring to seven the number of houses torched in the last five months.

The latest blazes have prompted an appeal for public help to track the fire bugs – but also a warning of the dangers posed by the arsonists.

Gunnedah emergency services responded to the two fires in the space of two hours overnight on Tuesday, prompting calls for the community to report any suspicious activity.

About 11pm on Tuesday, the fire brigade responded to a triple-0 call, reporting a blaze at the old abattoir site.

Firefighters arrived to find a disused brick building well alight.

Fire and Rescue NSW Gunnedah acting station commander Glenn Swift told The Namoi Valley Independent it appeared some sort of accelerant had been used to start the blaze.

“The clear assumption is that they would need something to get the fire going in the brick premises,” he said. 

“We were just mopping up that fire, when we received a second call about 1am (on Wednesday), to a structural fire in Tempest St.”

The residence had been vacant for several years and was gutted in the blaze. 

It is the seventh fire in the past five months in Gunnedah, that has  started under suspicious circumstances, he said.

“Once again, it would appear the Tempest St fire was deliberately lit,” Deputy Captain Swift said. 

“While no lives were in immediate danger, it is concerning that certain persons are lighting fires in vacant buildings around Gunnedah.

“While they might consider the buildings of little value, they’re placing themselves and others in danger as well as surrounding properties.”

Deputy Captain Swift said while the community should not be alarmed for their personal safety, he asked residents seeing suspicious activity around vacant buildings to contact police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

The remains of the house on Tempest St, Gunnedah. Photo: Peter Lorimer

The remains of the house on Tempest St, Gunnedah. Photo: Peter Lorimer