Firefighters stop blaze in its tracks

Daryna ZadvirnaAlbany Advertiser
The stolen car, gutted by fire.
Camera IconThe stolen car, gutted by fire. Credit: Daryna Zadvirna Albany Advertiser

Mt Barker police are investigating a suspicious fire which started with a dumped stolen car and sparked a bushfire warning for parts of the town.

The fire started just after midday on Saturday, in bush between Albany Highway and Mitchell Street, south of Pugh Street.

Seven fire trucks and 30 firefighters attended the scene and managed to contain the blaze.

Incident controller Jason Stasev from Mt Barker Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service determined that the fire had started from the car and listed the incident as suspicious.

According to Senior Sergeant Dave Johnson, a witness reported people running away from the scene.

Mt Barker police discovered the car was stolen from Perth but had not yet confirmed how long the car had been in the bush or if it had been intentionally set on fire.

“Inquiries are continuing but we’re still unsure whether it was just parked there and ignited the dry grass underneath it,” Sen. Sgt Johnson said.

Mr Stasev said the fire had spread to the surrounding bush by the time he arrived and the car was not initially visible.

“When I got there it was very smoky, with an active fire running in both northerly and southerly directions,” he said.

He said there was a particularly high fire risk that day with strong north-westerly winds.

“The fire was hot enough to sort of generate its own wind, so it was spreading in all directions,” Mr Stasev said.

“We were worried that it was going to cross Mitchell Street, into the paddocks and into the town.

“But fortunately we managed to secure that edge. The team got on to it quickly and knocked it out before the fire spread too much.”

Mt Barker firefighter mopping up the scene of the fire.
Camera IconMt Barker firefighter mopping up the scene of the fire. Credit: Daryna Zadvirna Albany Advertiser

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