Barney Point house fire lit with candle, arsonist

WHAT WE KNOW:

- Police believe the fire was deliberately lit and an arsonist is on the loose

- Police found a candle and accelerant at the burnt out house

- The fire was lit some time after 7pm

POLICE have found evidence that suggests the house fire on O'Connell St at Barney Point was deliberately lit.

BARNEY POINT HOUSE FIRE AS IT HAPPENED |

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Detective Senior Sergeant Luke Peachey from Gladstone CIB said forensic police officers found accelerant and a candle inside the house.

"As a result of investigations today police now believe the fire was deliberately lit," Det. Snr Srg Peachey said.

"Police have found evidence that there's an accelerant we believe has been used along with a candle that was found inside the residence.

"At the time the residence was vacant and no person had been living in that residence so we believe this has been a deliberate attempt to set this house afire," he said.

Det. Snr Srg Peachey urged anyone if with information on whether squatters were living in the house or if people were seen around the address from 7pm onwards last night to come forward and call either crime stoppers on 1800333000 or Gladstone police station.

EARLIER

THE OWNER of a vacant house that went up in flames last night was "disappointed" to find out this morning from The Observer that his house had been gutted.

 

Frederick John Neish, who lives in Coffs Harbour NSW, had bought the house at 37 O'Connell St in Barney Point in 2007 and had just finished renovating the house after a previous tenet damaged the property.

"I've spent more than $30,000 on doing it up…I was up there [Gladstone] in February when Carpet Court finished putting the new carpet in," Mr Neish said.

"Why did this have to happen now?

"It's disappointing but I don't know if I'm shocked or more fed up," he said.

Mr Neish said he had spent the $30,000 on putting in new walls, carpet, bench tops, a glass top stove and new vanities.

The house had been vacant for more than a year.

Mr Neish had a feeling that because his house was untenanted, he would not be covered by insurance.

"It's like when you leave the keys in your car and it gets stolen," he said.


Mr Neish said once police tell him what happened he will then make the trip up to Gladstone to see what he can salvage.

Detective Senior Sergeant Luke Peachey said fire investigators were on scene and trying to find out the cause of the blaze.

He said until police knew what caused the house fire they would treat it as suspicious.

More to come.



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