A burnt out vehicle on Cornwall St. PHOTO/KAREN COLTMAN

Arson suspected
Police in dark over car

KAREN COLTMAN
karen.coltman@age.co.nz

Several Masterton residents were woken up on Friday by car airbags exploding and the smell of smoke – the result of a Mercedes-Benz on fire, in what appears to be an arson.

At 3.55am Vanessa Carson opened the curtains to see smoke coming from the car parked across from her house on Cornwall St.

A male neighbour attempted to fight the fire with his kitchen fire extinguisher but had to step back when the fire caught hold under the engine.

“The car fire suddenly really took off, it was scary really as the flames were reaching right up to the powerlines,” Carson said.

“It’s not cool. I woke my kids up and at first thought it might be our cars on fire.”

Carson said three police cars and a fire truck came to the scene. The car had “heaps of” alcoholic ready to drink cans in the boot, she said.

“The policewoman said it seemed to be a night for it as they had been busy,” Carson said.

The Mercedes doesn’t belong to any of the neighbours and was not usually parked where it was set fire to, which was about 100 metres west of the Pownall St corner dairy, the Westend Superstore.

Across the street from Carson, Kevin Henderson was up doing work in his back office but came out when the police arrived. His wife slept through the event.

“I would say the drivers of it would’ve run out of petrol and you can see the wear on the tyres from drag racing type of use,” Henderson said.

“People who do this don’t care at all about where or when they vandalise and how that affects others.

“The powerlines the fire was reaching were right up to the lines that go to my house.”

Detective Senior Sergeant Barry Bysouth said police had no information to suggest the car was stolen, and it was not registered.

“None of the neighbours who were canvassed saw or heard anything suspicious,” he said. “We have no one linked to the car since February this year.

“It is unexplained, so anyone with information would be appreciated.”