Arson charge after fire destroys truck

By Sonya Bateson

A man has been charged with arson after a truck carrying Christmas trees and fireworks burst into flames.

Papamoa Beach Rd residents called firefighters as a truck parked across the road burned yesterday just after midnight.

Papamoa fire chief Allan Bicker said: "When we got there, there was a section of the dunes on fire, about 30sq m. It was all put out pretty easily, we only had one appliance out there. All the curtains on the truck had gone."

Mr Bicker said he had been told the owner lived on Karewa Parade.

"There was a lot of stuff in the back that I could identify. It looked like he was selling fireworks and Christmas trees."

An unemployed 18-year-old Papamoa man appeared in court yesterday, charged with arson as a result of the fire, and had been bailed to reappear on March 14.

One resident, who spoke on condition he was not named, said his son heard young men drinking and making noises before the fire and later saw three people fleeing.

"By the time I got up, the truck was well and truly ablaze. I heard the tyres popping."

The truck had been parked on the roadside for about a week and neighbours had complained, he said.

"Someone called the council and one of their guys came to take photos of the registration and wrote a ticket. We sometimes get a truck parked there overnight but it's not a very good place to leave it parked."

Another resident said it appeared someone had been trying to steal from the truck.

"The stereo was lying on the front seat.

"The company whose name was on the truck said they didn't own it any more. The back of it was full of Christmas trees."


- Bay of Plenty Times

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