Arsonists invade town centre


2425 Melanka block fire 1 OK
2425 Melanka block fire 2 OKBy ERWIN CHLANDA
Firebugs who have massively increased the workload of the fire brigade every night over the last three weeks have now attacked the town centre.
Station Officer Adrian Sgarbossa says at 7pm yesterday a “drunken female” was seen lighting grass in several places on the vacant Melanka block at the northern end of Gap Road.
One of the tall palm trees was destroyed, but the fire crew managed to save the one next to it.
The sacred trees on the block could also be saved, because unlike many destroyed south of The Gap, they do not have hollow trunks.
Mr Sgarbossa says last night there were five other deliberately lit fires, near the former drive-in (at 8:30pm), along the railway line south off The Gap and at Little Sisters (at 12:23am).
In the northern part of town blazes were started in Head Street and Woods Terrace at 3:31am.
All were the work of arsonists, he says.
The Melanka fire started when the main fire crew had been called out to an “automatic” fire alarm at the casino.
With the second crew attending to the Melanka fire, there was “reduced response capability” to any car accidents or house fires that might have occurred.


  1. Those palm trees will most probably survive. They get burnt in the Top End every year. Its a shame about the behaviour though. There are ratbags in every society, sadly!

  2. Welcome to Alice Springs. Nothing wrong with this town, just read the letter all those people (most) that aren’t locals signed telling everyone how awesome this place is.

  3. The lighting of fires was once the main practical method by which indigenous people exerted a form of management of the land over which they had custodianship.
    In more recent times the lighting of fires has become the most obvious sign of their disaffection – it signals a failure by society to deal effectively with the problems they face, including by the various organisations that purport to act in their best interests.
    This is an increasingly dangerous situation. The proliferation of exotic grasses in the environment, over which there is a marked reluctance or inability to do anything to control their spread, is creating a steadily worsening major fire hazard for our region.
    There will come a time when someone will set fire to dry grass without any thought or regard to the consequences, but through a propitious moment of weather conditions will initiate a major bushfire disaster.
    We can’t continue to ignore this obvious danger.

  4. There is nothing new here, from my time in the NTFRS starting in 1981 and probably before, this has been an ongoing cyclical issue for the NTFRS and most urban communities in the NT.
    How to stop or limit this problem is a complex and difficult issue to address.
    Let’s hope the younger and more educated experts in this field can come up with a well researched solution.
    In the meantime and to mitigate any serious damage from any sort of fire, people need to reduce the fire load (vegetation / flammable material) from anywhere near their properties and report quickly any suspicious activity to the relevant authorities.

  5. Terrible people with no regard for other peoples property and no regard for their families or themselves.

  6. As the summer rock throwers again become the winter firebugs, at least we can sleep easier this year. We now have a golden bunny guarding our night times.


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