Firebug presumed to be behind 10 Torquay fires

January 14, 2021 BY

A purposely lit fire had to be put out along Deep Creek walking track, with police believing the incident has ties to the other nine fires reported in Torquay dating back to October. PHOTO: Supplied.

POLICE continue to hunt a Torquay firebug believed to be responsible for 10 fires across the community.

Torquay Crime Investigation Unit continues to investigate a spate of suspicious fires that have been occurring across the town since October 23.

The initial fire was believed to have started at Grandview Road, Torquay, where the suspect targeted the newly built property of Richmond AFL star Nick Vlaustin.

Since the first fire, nine others have occurred all within a four-kilometre radius, with Sergeant Duncan Frame stating that the detective unit was treating the fires as linked events.

“We are looking at the possibility of an arsonist in Torquay,” he said.

Several scrub and structure fires have been reported, with CCTV footage depicting a young man believed to be responsible for the 10 incidents dating back to last year.

Footage has shown the man using a flammable liquid to ignite the flames on two occasions.

The last known fire occurred on January 1 at Surf World car park.

Sergeant Frame said there has been no pattern established for the fires.

“We had three fires in October, none in November and since the start of December on a semi-regular basis between every 1-2 weeks,” he said.

Investigators fear that if the firebug remains unfound there could be “catastrophic” consequences including serious injuries, damage or death.

After temperatures soared to 38 degrees on Monday, the potential of a fire carries a greater risk with more hot days still to come.

Country Fire Authority ratings say Surf Coast conditions so far should be easily controllable in the event of a fire but they are still warning the public to be responsible.

Torquay CFA Captain Phillip Campbell has said it is a higher threat to the whole community if someone is out there lighting fires during ratings of high fire danger.

“People need to stay vigilant and report anything they think is suspicious as well any smoke or fire,” he said.

Police believe that someone within the local community will know who the offender is, causing investigators to appeal to anyone with more information.

Sergeant Frame is urging locals to be on the lookout for anyone acting suspiciously along the Deep Creek walking track and The Esplanade.

“If anyone has any knowledge of the person responsible or any information they can contact police anonymously,” he said.

To report information contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.