Police investigating Ballarat fires 

POLICE are investigating two suspicious fires which caused thousands of dollars of damage to a house, a four- wheel-drive and a caravan during the early hours of New Year’s Day.

One of the fires ripped through the front end of an unoccupied Howitt Street home while a caravan on Hickman Street was completely destroyed and a four wheel drive was also badly damaged.

Ballarat Crime Investigation Unit Detective Senior Constable Troy Wickam said that although it was unusual to have two suspicious incidents occur on the same night, he did not suspect any connection.

“It’s certainly unusual (for two suspicious fires to occur so close one another) but I don’t believe they are related,” he said.

“It’s possible it’s linked to New Years celebrations but we’re unable to confirm that.”

Emergency services were called to Howitt Street about 1.30am yesterday where fire had engulfed the front of a house, destroying several rooms and causing smoke damage to much of the house.

Three trucks attended and took less than 20 minutes to put out the blaze.

About an hour earlier, emergency services were called to the back of a Hickman Street property where an old four wheel drive and a caravan had been set alight.

Three fire trucks attended and had the blaze under control within about five minutes.

Detective Senior Constable Wickam said residents needed to be vigilant, particularly over summer.

“It’s definitely concerning, any type of fire is a worry,” he said.

“Anyone who observes any suspicious behaviour should call 000, especially in the fire season.”

Police have spoken to several witnesses over both incidents and investigations are ongoing.

Anyone with information about either incident should contact the Ballarat CIU on 5336 6080 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Meanwhile firefighters continued to blackout scrub following a grassfire in Yandoit on Monday.

At least 10 tankers also attended a grass fire in Cape Clear yesterday which burnt out 2.6 hectares of land.

Water bombing was used to control the blaze, which was believed to have been started by a campfire.

evan.schuurman@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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