Police investigate suspicious fire

The grassfire at Taylors Lakes.(Damjan Janevski) 225525_01

Tara Murray

Police are searching for a man seen near a suspicious fire in Taylors Lakes last week, which damaged a number of sheds and fences.

Emergency services were called to the fire at Rowell Place about 3.30pm last Monday.

The fire burnt about 20 hectares. with more than 50 Fire Rescue Victoria firefighters on scene at the height of the blaze.

Police evacuated more than 40 from houses neighbouring the fire.

Brimbank crime investigation unit Detective Senior Constable Euan Thoms said the man they were looking for was seen on CCTV footage in the vicinity of the fire.

He said police appealing for help identifying the man.

“We have CCTV footage in the local area which suggests that a person was in the vicinity of this area at the time of the fires,” he said.

“Had there not been the same response from emergency services, the result could have been particularly different to what occurred.

“It’s of great concern to myself and police, that there is someone deliberately lighting fires on hot days in built up residential areas.”

Detective Senior Constable Thoms said the grass had been mowed in the days leading up to the fire and was very dry at the time.

Brimbank city development director Kelvin Walsh said the council had previously received complaints from residents about the maintenance of the land.

“The grass fire happened on privately-owned land,” he said.

“Council issued a notice to comply and worked with property owners to make sure the grass was cut in late December last year and early January this year.

“All property owners have a responsibility to keep grass short and properties clear of fire hazards. Council regularly inspects vacant properties and reminds landowners to keep grass short.

“If a property is not maintained and poses a safety risk, the council can issue a notice to comply. Failure to comply can lead to fines and costs of more than $1600.”

Anyone with information about the fire is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.