Police investigate suspicious fires at vacant buildings | Photos

Police are investigating two suspicious fires that occurred at vacant buildings early on Monday morning. 

Ballarat Police Senior Sergeant Stacey Glenister said police were called to a fire at the former Shell depot next to Office Works on Creswick Road at 1.20am.

The fire at the empty building, which has no power, was deemed suspicious.

Senior Sergeant Glenister said police later attended a house fire on Larter Street in Canadian at 3.05am. 

The Larter Street property is also abandoned and has been known to be used by squatters. 

Ballarat City Fire Brigade attended both fires with support from Ballarat and Mount Helen units.

A Ballarat City Fire Brigade member said the “derelict” building on Creswick Road had “burnt readily” and was “significantly” damaged, but fire crews had been able to contain both fires “fairly quickly”.  

He said with the warmer weather having long grass surrounding properties was also cause for concern. 

In photos received by The Courier, an aerial appliance can be seen in use as fire brigade members put out the fire located at the building on Creswick Road.

While photos show fire brigade members fighting the fire on the ground at Larter Street, with the building severely damaged.

The Criminal Investigation Unit is investigating both fires with the two sites turned into crime scenes and guards stationed outside the properties on Monday. 

The causes of the fires have not yet been confirmed.

Ballarat Criminal Investigation Unit Chief Sergeant Robert Pama told The Courier on Monday police did not yet have suspects and when police attended the scenes the fires were both contained.

He said an arson chemist would come up from Melbourne to look at both sites on Monday with the investigations ongoing.

There were no known injuries or damage to any surrounding properties. 

In May, The Courier revealed a large-format retail development was in the pipeline for the former fuel depot site on Creswick Road.

The site, which also housed a service station, has been vacant for more than 10 years. 

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.