Australia — Five families have spent the night in emergency accommodation after one home was destroyed and another four were damaged by a deliberately lit fire in Perth’s southern suburbs.
The fire ripped through up to 6ha of bush between Malvolio Road and Paddington Court at Coolbellup just after 2.30pm.
Four fire and rescue units, seven bushfire fighting appliances and four water-bombing helicopters extinguished the blaze by 4.30pm.
Winds pushed the fire towards several homes that back on to the bush, including that of Paddington Court resident Melanie Ball.
She said she noticed the fire after picking up her two-year-old daughter Briana from day care after 2.30pm.
“By the time we came back we saw the smoke at the far corner in the bush and we went flying up there (to the house),” Mrs Ball said.
“I ran in the house, grabbed our passports and that. Me and my family just moved over here in November from New Zealand.
“The flames were coming over the back fence and I just ran.”
Firefighters told Mrs Ball that 30 per cent of her home was damaged, with her daughters’ rooms the worst affected.
“It makes me so mad to think anyone could have done this intentionally,” she said.
Arson squad detectives appealed for anyone who saw a person riding a motorised scooter in the area to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
A total fire ban has been issued for many parts of the State today including the Great Southern, central Wheatbelt and parts of the central west.
The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast a severe fire danger rating for inland parts of the Great Southern, the central Wheatbelt and parts of the central west with very hot, dry and windy conditions predicted.
The ban includes major centres such as Albany, Esperance, Ravensthorpe, Katanning, Kojonup, Boddington, Narrogin, Williams, Beverley and Northampton.