Arsonist lights fires at aged-care home
Residents were evacuated from a Port Melbourne aged-care home after arsonists lit several fires in the vicinity.PT1M17S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-36mgq 620 349 April 14, 2014
A serial firebug could be responsible for ‘‘brazenly’’ lighting several fires in a Melbourne DHS housing block while firefighters and police were inside the building.
The Metropolitan Fire Brigade was called to the second floor of the three-storey block in Tom Hills Court, Port Melbourne, about 11.30pm on Sunday to put out a fire in a communal area.
While crews were busy extinguishing the first fire, another was started in a different part of the building, MFB Commander Frank Stockton said.
Damage to a couch caused in a recent fire - not the most recent blaze - at the Port Melbourne facility. Photo: Penny Stephens
Detective Senior Constable Dean Vincent said that when police arrived shortly after the second fire, an arsonist lit two more.
‘‘It’s quite brazen that this would occur while emergency services were on scene,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s extremely lucky that no one was injured or killed.’’
About 40 residents were evacuated but returned to their units shortly after the fires were extinguished. No one was hurt.
MFB spokeswoman Heather Stockton said sprinklers helped put out the fires. Some rooms were damaged by water, and MFB crews remained in the building until 3am to mop up water.
The apartment block, which is a DHS facility, houses people over the age of 50.
Residents told media on Monday morning that the building had been set on fire several times before.
Detective Senior Constable Vincent admitted that police were aware of another fire being lit in the last 10 days.
‘‘But we’re obviously in the early stages of the investigation, and at the moment, we’re just talking to persons of interest in the area,’’ he said.
A resident said that the building was generally very secure.
‘‘It’s much more secure than other housing commission properties,’’ he said. ‘‘But sometimes people will leave the door ajar and even though security guards come and shut the door at night, it doesn’t mean anything.’’
An arson chemist is attending the scene.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.