Man Charged With Threats To Kill And Deliberate Fire Setting In Western Australia

Police have charged a 25-year-old man from the Geraldton suburb of Spalding with threats to kill and two counts of breach of duty in connection with the fires. 

Authorities allege that all the fires were linked to the same individual.

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Volunteer firefighters in Western Australia’s Midwest region confronted a series of deliberately lit fires spanning 70 kilometres of road reserve over the weekend.

The ordeal began when volunteer firefighters were alerted to multiple fires along the Geraldton-Mount Magnet Road on Saturday afternoon. 

Mullewa farmer Rod Messina, witnessed a black car on the side of the road, and soon after, smoke and flames erupted in its wake. 

“He started igniting fires out the window, so throwing things out the window, and I basically watched him light another seven fires,” Messina said.

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Despite mechanical problems causing the suspect’s vehicle to stop, Messina could stay close until police arrived. 

With the support of over 100 firefighters and water bombers from the Department of Fire and Emergency, the volunteers successfully battled the blazes, which burned approximately 2,000 hectares of land.

The fires, fanned by strong winds, merged to form two separate major blazes at Tenindewa and Wicherina. 

Power lines collapsed, and transport routes were closed during the firefighting efforts.

“It could have been so much worse; we could have lost the town of Mullewa if we’d had the reserve light up.”

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