Bendigo fires cause concern for police

THERE are fears multiple firebugs could be on the loose after a series of suspicious fires across Bendigo at the weekend.

Police are investigating a string of deliberately lit grass fires in Long Gully and Golden Square and a car fire in Eaglehawk.

A number of trees and grassland were burnt in small fires that broke out near Mundick Street, Long Gully, about 4.30am on Saturday.

They followed another fire lit late on Friday night in a laneway off Marble Street, Golden Square.

Senior Constable Karl Mannes said he did not think the fires were linked, but that police were still investigating the cause of the incidents.

On Sunday, a car was set alight at 3.15am in Neangar Court, Eaglehawk, causing extensive damage.

In addition, police are still investigating the cause of a small fire that burnt through grass in Creek Street, Long Gully, at 5.30am on Sunday. 

Senior Constable Mannes said the number of blazes over the weekend raised concern that a growing number of fires were being deliberately lit. “Certainly fires are a significant concern,” he said.  

“There’s always potential risk to property in those areas.”

Senior Constable Mannes  said it was unclear whether the fires in Long Gully were acts of vandalism, but the fires did not start naturally. “It appears there may have been human interference,” he said. 

Senior Constable Mannes said police were still trying to track down the culprits in all incidents and called on anyone with information to come forward. “We’re trying to determine if it was suspicious, we believe the Golden Square fire was started by a home incinerator,” he said. 

“We’re calling on any members of the public who may have seen anything to notify us.” 

In the past month the Bendigo Advertiser has reported on several other suspicious fires in the region:

- Two fires in Eaglehawk Road at the back of a BP on New Year’s Eve;

- Two fires at a playground in Prouses Road, Bendigo, on January 8;

- A scrub fire in Wedderburn on January 9;

- A group of fires lit at Chewton Cemetery on January 19;

- A scrub fire on DSE land in Sailors Gully Road, Eaglehawk, on January 23;

- A scrub fire at Mia Mia on January 25;

- A scrub fire in Adelaide Hills Road, Huntly, on January 25; and

- A grass and scrub fire at Emu Creek on January 30.

A 16-year-old was charged over a deliberately-lit fire at Crusoe Reservoir on Friday, January 11.

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