Here’s hoping the cops catch the bugger who is burning down schools in the Wellington area.
But if he is smart he will shoot through to Christchurch, a city peopled by oddballs and led by a mayor who has welcomed the demolition of a property persistently attacked by arsonists.
It’s a city, too, where the cops have sadly failed to catch those responsible for the fires.
Let’s start in Lower Hutt, where the suspect who gutted a classroom appears to have tried to light a fire at a second school later that same day, according to the police.
Three fire crews were called to Pukeatua Primary School in Wainuiomata about 4pm on Saturday to find the classroom well alight.
Firefighters fought the fire for 40 minutes and were able to bring it under control before it spread to other areas of the school.
Acting school principal Jenni Adam said children’s art work, teaching materials and “pretty much everything that’s in that room” had been destroyed by smoke, water or fire damage.
Police and fire investigators believe the fire was deliberately lit.
Later that day, a member of the public reported seeing smoke at a fire at St Claudine Thevenet School, also in Wainuiomata.
It appeared someone had tried to start a fire, but it failed to catch.
Anyone who saw any suspicious activity around those schools on Saturday is asked to contact police.
Down in Christchurch this would be regarded as nothing more than the first phase of a demolition job.
Who says so?
The city’s loopy mayor says so.
Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker is welcoming the demolition of the city’s “House of Horrors”.
The Christchurch property where Jason Somerville killed two women and hid their bodies was demolished after it was attacked for the fourth time by arsonists early on Saturday.
Parker said the murders of Rebecca Somerville in August last year and Tisha Lowry in September, 2008, had traumatised the community.
“Like most people, I feel a huge sense of relief. It has been hanging over that community and every time someone walks past it is a reminder.”
The site on the corner of Wainoni Rd and Hampshire St is now a pile of rubble and twisted corrugated iron.
The Christchurch City Council will this week order the owners of the two adjoining properties that once occupied the site to clear the rubble within 28 days. One property is owned by a North Island couple and the other by Somerville.
So there we have it.
A city where people are traumatised by violent death, even though it is astonishingly common in Christchurch.
Bloody good thing they don’t have to live in Iraq.
They are led by a mealy-mouthed Mayor who does not denounce the buggers who set fire to the so-called house of horrors (at least, not so far as Alf knows). Instead he demands that some other poor buggers come along and clean up the mess.
This is his smart-arsed way of sorting out an ownership issue and of having the site turned into a park.
Parker hopes the site clearance process will clarify ownership issues around the property and help advance his proposal to turn the site into a community facility such as a small park.
“No-one has been able to clarify who owns the property known as the murder house. Things are a bit more straightforward now. We can serve notice on the site and ask the owners of the site to have the rubble cleared. We are going to serve people with notices and so if they are not the right people in the chain they will have an incentive to resolve the process.”
Parker said he personally favoured a small park on the site and this could help a traumatised community.
According to the report in Stuff, the proposal is subject to consultation with neighbours and approval by the full council.
So what about consultation with the owners???
Alf is further bemused by the reasons giving for the demolition.
The Fire Service was called to the fire at 5.39am on Saturday. Five fire engines contained the blaze and helped protect a neighbouring property that suffered cracked windows and melted gutters from the heat of the fire.
Fire Service assistant area commander for Christchurch Greg Crawford said the building was demolished because it was unsafe. “I know a lot of locals wanted it taken down a long time ago, but that was nothing to do with my decision.
“It was purely on safety grounds.
“Whoever did this did a reasonably good job this time. The house was in a really dangerous state and burning very well in some places.
“We had to have it demolished in the interests of public safety. I felt it was best to demolish it in a safe and controlled manner,” Crawford said.
But this was private property, and if nobody was living in the house, the only danger was to people who had no right to be on the site.
This looks like an outrageous surrender to irrational fear and superstition about a “house of horrors.”
A significant number of locals have been spooked by nothing more threatening than a bit of real estate.
The best that can be said of these sad bastards is that they are burning buildings nowadays. There was a time when they would be happily burning witches.