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Lyall Bay warned to be on arson alert with bins

Aug 27th, 2012 | By | Category: Lead Story, News

LYALL Bay residents have been warned to be wary after suspected arson damaged Maranui Surf Lifesaving Club yesterday.

Two fires were started along Lyall Bay Parade early on Sunday morning before emergency services were called in around 3am.

The fires follow a number of arsons in neighbouring Kilbirnie in March.

Kilbirnie Fire Station officer Dave Gilroy says there have been occasional spates of arson over the past four to five years.

“Kilbirnie is one of those areas that seems to have little arson sprees,” he says.

Cars and boats were targets of the March arson attacks, while Sunday’s fires were lit in rubbish bins.

“It’s quite dangerous because they burn well,” says Mr Gilroy, who advises businesses to keep rubbish bins away from buildings and windows.

One of Sunday’s fires started in a cardboard recycling skip outside Maranui, damaging part of the building’s exterior wall and cracking a window, right.

The fire came close to a gas pipe, and the building’s gas supply was affected until about 11.30am.

Another fire was lit 100 metres away in a rubbish bin beside a playground, above.

A similar skip fire was started outside the Kilbirnie Farmers store in March.

“The company has a strict health and safety policy and bins are not allowed up against buildings,” says Tuscany Otton, a manager at the Kilbirnie Farmers store.

For Maranui it was the third fire in as many years, the first an electric blaze that gutted the building, the second a similar case of arson.

Maranui manager Freya Atkinson, left with the rubbish skip, said she was not aware anything had happened when she arrived at work on Sunday morning.

“I saw all the staff standing outside and I thought something was wrong,” she says.

When she saw them pulling out the bin, she knew it was a fire and her first thought was ‘not again’.

When Maranui Café’s co-owner Matt Wilson was called about the fire, his first reaction was disbelief.

His mind immediately went to the fire three years ago, which closed the café for almost a year.

“I was almost happy when I got there and saw there wasn’t much damage,” he says.

Maranui Café had to run on an improvised emergency menu for most of yesterday morning as they tried to restore the gas.

 

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