Warning over suspicious fires in North Beach

TWO suspicious fires have been reported in North Beach in the past two weeks.

North Beach resident Hamish Cockburn woke at 2am on November 29 to a neighbour telling him his unit was on fire.

Mr Cockburn said he was astounded to see a hedge and perimeter fence ablaze and quickly began to hose the fire down.

“The hedge was well alight and I could see flames and smoke,” he said.

Mr Cockburn said it was a lucky escape and he was grateful the neighbour had alerted him.

“It could have been very dangerous, a lot worse had I slept through or the neighbour slept through,” he said.

Scarborough police officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Glenn Dowding said offenders had used kerosene as an accelerant in the arson attack.

“A neighbour heard two explosions and saw a shrub alongside the fence was on fire,” Sgt Dowding said.

“I’m aware of previous incidents in other districts I’ve worked in where people put explosive devices in letterboxes but this looks like it was just someone throwing some accelerant and then setting it alight.”

Sgt Dowding said the fence backing on to the alleyway was locked but holes had been cut in it.

“It’s alongside a public access way that leads from the unit to the shops next door,” he said.

“Scarborough police have a local action plan targeting the North Beach shopping centre and surrounding areas.”

Two suspicious fires also broke out at North Beach Primary School on December 1. The fires were started at 7.30pm and a resident saw two youths running from the school.

Department of Fire and Emergency Services and police attended Mr Cockburn’s property.