Charges follow house, bin fires


A MORNINGTON man has been charged with five counts of arson and one count of conduct endangering life after a house fire and fires in three lots of rubbish bins.

The man, 38, is alleged to have set fire to a house in Moorina Court, Mornington, as well as bins outside the Currawong Community Centre, in Gilga St, Mornington and at Officeworks at the Peninsula Homemaker Centre.

A man and a woman managed to escape from the house fire and their children were staying overnight elsewhere.

However, one of the family’s two pet dogs died in the blaze.

The man arrested by police was remanded at Mornington overnight Thursday and appeared at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court for a committal mention hearing on Friday. He is expected to face Melbourne Magistrates’ Court in October.

Senior Sergeant Nick Vallas, of Mornington police, said police would push for the man to be held in custody until his court appearance.

The arrest of the man three days after the fires followed clothing and a bicycle being matched with images taken by surveillance cameras.

Fire razed the Moorina Court house early on Saturday 19 July – one of 13 callouts for fire crews between 6pm Friday and 8am Saturday.

Station officer Simon Mildren, of Mornington Fire Brigade, said a couple’s dog died in the blaze at 4.40am which destroyed the single storey brick veneer house.

The occupants, a man and a woman, escaped serious injury but the woman was taken to Frankston Hospital with smoke inhalation and discharged next morning.

The fire was reported as a garage fire but turned out to be more serious.

“We could see it from a long way away,” station officer Mildren said.

“The house was 50 per cent involved when we arrived but added complexity was caused by fallen power lines in the front yard and a high fuel load surrounding the house. These issues made fighting the fire more difficult.”

Crews came from Mt Martha, Mt Eliza, Frankston and Bayswater to fight the fire which took 45 minutes to control.

It is believed a smoke alarm alerted the occupants.

First published in the Mornington News – 28 July 2015


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