A HASTINGS businessman last week faced Frankston Magistrates’ Court charged with failing to extinguish a fire in the open on Wednesday 31 December last year.
Alan Duke, of A&A Worm Farm Waste Systems, of Frankston-Flinders Rd, appeared at a contest mention but did not enter a formal plea. The case was adjourned until 1 December and is expected to be dealt with by diversion hearing.
On Saturday 3 January, fires burnt out a wood yard in Reid Parade, parts of Warringine reserve and threatened nearby houses in temperatures of over 40 degrees and with strong northerlies fanning the flames.
Mr Duke’s neighbour John Gaylor, of Jimmin Firewood, said the out-of-control fire “ruined my business”.
“I lost three or four years’ worth of wood and machinery,” Mr Gaylor said.
“I am talking about a lot of money here.”
Police prosecutor Andrew Chiodo said the charge of failing to extinguish a fire referred to an incident on 31 December – not the larger weekend fires which had Hastings, Crib Point and Bittern homeowners on edge.
Diversion hearings usually proceed on the basis that the defendant acknowledges responsibility for an action, and is contrite.
It is believed other charges: failing to comply with the conditions of a CFA fire permit, and leaving a fire unattended during a country fire period, have been dropped.
Mr Duke did not return calls from The News.
- A report in The News last week (“Fire alarm: catastrophe in waiting”) wrongly stated that the Hastings fire on Saturday 3 January had “started in a wood yard at Hastings”.