Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Largest blaze yet in suspicious spate at Tatura

The 20th suspiciously lit fire at Tatura was the largest so far, burning 250m of grassland.

RIAHN SMITH April 2, 2014 4:45am

An arson investigator photographs the scene of a suspicious fire that burned along the eastern side of Craven Rd yesterday morning.

The largest suspicious fire in two months has burned a 250m stretch of Tatura grassland.

Shepparton police Crime Investigation Unit Detective Senior Constable Paul Shortis said the fire burned along the eastern side of Craven Rd, 100m south of Murton Rd, yesterday morning.

It was the 20th deliberately lit fire between Tatura and Mooroopna since February 3.

Det Sen Const Shortis said while the fire was the largest in a spate of 20 deliberately lit blazes since February 3, investigators did not believe the arsonist’s activity had escalated.

He said the fire size could be attributed to lower volumes of traffic in the area.

‘‘I’d account for that being because the location is a little bit more remote than previous fires, which maybe allowed it to burn longer before someone saw it,’’ Det Sen Const Shortis said. ‘‘It doesn’t appear the arsonist is trying to get the biggest blaze, it’s still more nuisance value.

‘‘They still seem to be being burned in areas where there’s not going to be maximum burn, where the wind direction is blowing back towards the road.’’

Last week, The News reported police were looking for information about two vehicles seen near the scene of two fires.

Yesterday, Det Sen Const Shortis said investigators had spoken to the driver of a white van and had eliminated him from their inquiries.

He said the police still wanted to speak to the driver of a white ute with a couple of dogs in the back seen on Craven Rd shortly before 3am on March 21.

He said police were also seeking information about a late 1990s blue Ford Falcon sedan spotted without number plates near a Ferguson Rd fire a fortnight ago.

The car is believed to be an AU or BA model.

‘‘If anyone has any suspicions at all, about family or friends or neighbours, about anyone that’s out at unusual times, we want to know about it,’’ Det Sen Const Shortis said.

‘‘The more information we receive, the better.’’


Anyone with information should phone Shepparton police on 58205777 or Crime Stoppers on 1800333000.

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