Arsonist has Bomaderry on high alert

TOO CLOSE: Bomaderry resident Steen Pedersen shows how close a fire came to his house. Authorities are investigating what they believe is the work of an arsonist in the area.

TOO CLOSE: Bomaderry resident Steen Pedersen shows how close a fire came to his house. Authorities are investigating what they believe is the work of an arsonist in the area.

RESIDENTS in Bomaderry are on high alert with an arsonist burning bush in residential areas close to homes.

Numerous fires, some which came within metres of homes, have been lit over the past few weeks.

Most recently, an area of bush along the eastern side of the TAFE campus in Bomaderry was the target.

About 20 small fires were lit over about two weeks along a public path that runs through bush near the TAFE.

One of those fires burnt through to the boundary of property owned by Steen Pedersen.

“It’s a real worry. On Sunday night there were so many fires you could walk along that path without a torch,” he said.

“There was another fire nearby on Monday night, it seems like someone is lighting fires here almost every night.

“Last Sunday it burned up to my place. There are units in this area where the bush is right up to the buildings. The trees are touching the roofs.”

Mr Pedersen said part of the problem was the fuel in that area was not being managed with fire in mind.

“When the trees under the power lines were cleared the cuttings were left behind to dry out,” he said.

“Also when council sprays the lantana in here it dies and is just left behind. It dries out and we end up with lots of fuel for fires.”

Keelie Stewart lives nearby and has bush right up to the unit in which she lives.

“I want to move out of here,” she said.

“I don’t want my place and all my things to be burnt.”

Another resident, who did not want to be named, believed someone was hiding near his property when a couple of the fires were lit.

Fire and Rescue NSW Nowra station officer Ian Walters said his crew went to about six or seven fires in the space of a few hours one night last week in that area.

“It’s definitely the work of an arsonist or a couple of them,” he said. 

Mr Walters said the fire brigade and police were working together to find the offender.

“If they keep going it’s only a matter of time before they are caught or potentially before someone loses their house.”

Mr Walters said residents in the area should keep an eye out for any suspicious activity in the area. 

“Phone the police and the fire brigade and try to take note of what and who they see to give a description to police,” he said.

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