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October 8, 2016 | by  | in News Splash |
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Double arson in Wellington central

Early Tuesday morning, October 4, two separate arson attacks took place in Mount Cook and Te Aro.

47 year old Robert Vernon Phillip Mackie has been arrested for one of the incidents and is now facing seven charges of arson and one charge of burglary.

The Wellington Area Commander, Inspector Chris Bensemann, reported that the man was caught during an attempted burglary. Mackie’s charges include setting fire to ten rubbish bins which were leant against buildings, including several restaurants on Courtenay Place.

One council worker required medical treatment for smoke inhalation following the incident.

At 2am, the same morning the bins were set alight, a couch was set on fire on the front porch of a Nairn Street residence.

The fire grew quickly and then spread through the front of the house. One resident said they leapt through a “wall of flame” in order to escape the blaze.

Eight fire trucks were called to put out the blaze which partially destroyed the house.

Police are still investigating the Nairn Street arson and were “following strong leads to identify those responsible.”

Senior Station Officer John Mansford said that smoke alarms helped alert the residents of the Nairn Street property in time.

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