FIREFIGHTER CHARGED: Police have charged an volunteer RFS firefighter with deliberately starting grass fires. File Photo: NSW Rural Fire Service.
FIREFIGHTER CHARGED: Police have charged an volunteer RFS firefighter with deliberately starting grass fires. File Photo: NSW Rural Fire Service.

Teen firey charged with deliberately lighting blazes

AFTER a devastating year when bushfires ripped through the hearts of so many rural communities, this is the news which no town wants to hear.

But after being assisted by Rural Fire Service investigators, police have charged an 18-year-old RFS volunteer over allegedly deliberately lighting fires on the Far North Coast.

Police today announced they had made an arrest regarding more than a dozen grass fires, believed to be deliberately lit, in the Burringbar and Mooball areas between October 7 and November 3, 2020.

Police investigators have also been assisted by NSW RFS fire investigators.

Detectives from Tweed/Byron Police District established Strike Force Epicentre - with assistance from the State Crime Command Financial Crime Squad's Arson Unit - to investigate the fires.

As part of their inquiries, police commenced an investigation of a suspicious grass fire near a property on Yarrabee Terrace at Stokers Siding, about 13km southeast of Murwillumbah, about 6.30pm on Tuesday, which was reported to and extinguished by the NSW Rural Fire Service.

Following extensive inquiries, about 7.50am on Wednesday, police stopped a vehicle in Broadway St, Burringbar, and arrested an 18-year-old man.

A subsequent search warrant was executed at a Burringbar home where officers located and seized a replica pistol.

He was taken to Tweed Heads Police Station and charged with nine counts of intentionally causing a fire and being reckless to its spread, and one count of possessing an unauthorised pistol.

He was refused bail to appear at Tweed Heads Local Court today.

Police will allege in court the man lit several blazes in the area before returning to respond to the fire as part of his duties as a volunteer.

Investigations are ongoing.


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