A Hawke's Bay fire investigator is confident a blaze which badly injured a man in Hastings late last night is not linked to a spate of arsons in the same localised corner of its Hastings suburb.
The fire was reported at 10.38pm in a flat attached to a house in Lardon Place, in a newly-built northern corner of Frimley where one car was torched and attempts made to burn four others less than 24 hours earlier.
Five other vehicles had been destroyed by suspected arson in the area in the previous four months dating back to late May, one of those fires also being in Lardon Place.
New Zealand Fire Service risk management officer Bob Palmer confirmed today an explosion preceded last night's fire, from which a man thought to be aged about 30 was taken by the St John Ambulance Service to nearby Hawke's Bay Hospital, suffering injuries to his face, hands and thighs. He was early today in a critical condition in the intensive care unit.
No one else was understood to have been injured, although the man's mother, her partner and two children lived in the house adjoining the accommodation.
Mr Palmer said he was "comfortable" that the fire was not part of the chain of arsons being investigated by police, which escalated early on Sunday morning with the torching of a car parked in front of a house in Barcroft St.
Police investigating that fire soon found attempts had also been made to set fire to four vehicles outside properties in adjoining Edwards St during the night.
Earlier this month police reported they were investigating the torching of five other vehicles in the area in the previous four months, in Lardon, Donald and Greenlea places, all off Arbuckle Rd, in Beamish St, and further west in Lowry Pl, off Ikanui St.
All but one of the 10 incidents, plus last night's fire have been in the newer-built cul-de-sacs and streets in the northern corner of Frimley, mainly bounded by or off Lyndhurst, Nottingley and Arbuckle roads.
Police security tape still surrounds a house in Donald Place, where fire destroyed a motorhome on May 18 and spread into a house from which a couple fled after being alerted to the flames by a neighbour. The Fire Service arrived in time to save the house and a car in its built-in garage.
Detective Wayne Steed, of Hawke's Bay CIB, said police are urgently seeking any information that could be linked, including suspicious movements of people or noises in the night and private CCTV security images which could help identify those responsible.
"We are working hard to try and resolve this as soon as possible," he said on Sunday. "We need to stop them."