An RFS volunteer has been charged following an investigation into several alleged deliberately lit fires on the state’s far north coast.
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 more than a dozen grass fires, believed to be deliberately lit, in the Burringbar and Mooball areas between Wednesday 7 October 2020 and Tuesday (3 November 2020).
Investigators have also been assisted by NSW RFS fire investigators.
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 south-east of Murwillumbah, about 6.30pm on Tuesday (3 November 2020), which was reported to and extinguished by the NSW Rural Fire Service.
Following extensive inquiries, about 7.50am yesterday (Wednesday 4 November 2020), police stopped a vehicle in Broadway Street, 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 cause fire and be reckless to its spread and one count of possess unauthorised pistol.
He was refused bail to appear at Tweed Heads Local Court today (Thursday 5 November 2020).
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.
The NSW Rural Fire Service have immediately stood down the member.