Caravan park fire, Neighbour suspects arson: VIDEO

NEIGHBOURS believe arson was responsible for the fire which destroyed two homes at a West Haven caravan park on Saturday night.
Nanjing Night Net

The residences, at the south east corner of the Christmas Cove Caravan and Lifestyle Park, started to burn about 6.03pm.

VIDEO FOOTAGE: A neighbour’s eyewitness account (click on the link below)

Neighbour’s eyewitness accountPHOTO GALLERY

WHEN THE STORY BROKE

Neighbour Ron Thatcher heard a loud smash followed by an explosion, and immediately went to investigate.

The army veteran said almost immediately the caravan closest to Ocean Drive was engulfed in flames.

“My hunch is that it was two Molotov cocktails, merely by the boom followed by an oomph noise as it exploded,” Mr Thatcher said.

What a mess: Firefighters mop up at the scene on Saturday night. Pic: MATT McLENNAN

The first van to burn was empty as its residents left the previous day at the request of management.

“There was no one living there, and nothing in there that could burn like gas or a stove or oil, so it must have been a deliberate act,” Mr Thatcher said.

“Some of the guys standing out there in the cold with me last night mentioned that was their theory too, and that was before I’d said a word about it.

“We’re all of a similar mind on that.”

The woman living in the second caravan heard the noise, saw flames outside and fled just in time.

Most of the caravan park’s residents were evacuated by police from 6.15pm, while the complex’s power supply was shut down.

The area outside the management’s office was filled with people of all ages until about 9pm when they were permitted to return to their homes.

“There were lots of small kids,” Mr Thatcher said.

“There’s a couple whose grandchildren were running around with their blankets pretending to be Batman, oblivious to everything.

“They were having fun, but the rest of us were freezing.

“One guy came wearing thongs and shorts. He was suffering by the end of the night.”

Mr Thatcher grabbed a nearby fire hose to protect the home of his 86-year-old neighbour – a man who buried his wife on Friday – which flanked the side of the fire.

“I just knew that he couldn’t lose his house too,” Mr Thatcher.

“One of the gas bottles further up started to go and it sounded like a jumbo jet.

“I thought it was going to blow up like a hand grenade.”

The Laurieton Fire Brigade, led by Captain Les King, arrived shortly after and secured the area.

Detectives and forensic specialists established a crime scene on Saturday night.

Police were unable to comment on the suspected arson, and said the investigation is continuing.

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