Alleged arsonist charged

Headshot of Adam Poulsen
Adam PoulsenMidwest Times

A 27-year-old Karloo man has been charged after he allegedly deliberately lit eight fires about 15km north of Meekatharra yesterday.

The Meekatharra Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service was called in to extinguish the flames after police were alerted to a string of small fires along the Great Northern Highway about 8am.

Officer-in-charge at Meekatharra Police Station, Senior Sergeant David Hornsby, said because of the quick response of police and firefighters, the fires had only reached several metres in size by the time they arrived on the scene.

“They weren’t significant, but given the prevailing winds were blowing at about 25km/h, there was a high chance of them spreading and causing damage to nearby pastoral stations,” he said.

“The smoke was also quite thick on the highway, which posed a hazard for motorists.”

Police found the suspect after several witnesses allegedly saw a man near the scene and provided matching descriptions.

He was charged with wilfully lighting a fire likely to injure persons or damage property and, if prosecuted, could face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Senior Sergeant Hornsby said deliberately lit fires were not uncommon in Meekatharra, but were usually lit by children and generally confined to the town centre.

“The simple act of lighting a fire is very serious and has the potential to cause major issues and impact everyone in the community,” he said.

“The other point is that it’s a nuisance because it requires the volunteer firies to drop everything to come out and put these fires out, which didn’t need to happen in the first place.”

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