Tuesday, December 10, 2013

That call in the night...

 We had a very nice Sunday at home, this weekend past.  Gus mowed the lawns in between watching the motor racing and the cricket.
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I did more gardening, tidying the rose bushes, cutting back cat mint that was overgrown.  I planted out some petunias so they should be in bloom by Christmas.
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By dinner time, the sunset was so pretty, casting an eery glow on everything...
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 With not much on tv, we had lights out at about 10pm...
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Then just after 11pm, a phone call woke us to tell us that 3 cars were on fire at our car dealership!  It was our service manager who called.  He was just coming back into town from a weekend away with his family when they saw the flashing lights of the police and fire trucks.
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We raced to get dressed, still half asleep then took off into town, not knowing what we would find.  When we arrived, we saw 3 cars well alight, still being doused by our Country Fire Service men.
All I can say, is that I was thankful that the buildings were not alight.  
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Vehicles can be replaced and we are covered by insurance but if it had spread to our showroom, offices or workshop, our business would be crippled for a long time.  We are lucky that it happened at a time when there were still people driving by - if it happened at 2-3am, no one may have noticed the fire until later when more damage could have occurred.  Also, it was a very still night so the flames were not fanned much.
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This is a brand new Ford Territory, completely gutted on the inside...
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This is a second hand Land Rover Discovery, recently traded, now ready for the junk yard...
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You can see how the fire melted the Ford oval sign - behind that wall is our service workshop and directly up against that wall are plastic bottles of oil and coolant, a kerosene tool washer and many aerosol cans - how lucky that a spark didn't get in?  The plastic bottles had started to melt just from the radiant heat - so lucky!
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Now, would you like to know how this all happened?  To start with, we weren't sure if it hadn't been deliberately lit or whether a vehicle just ignited or what...
Eventually, Police obtained a statement from a witness that said a man was seen fleeing the scene, not wearing any trousers!  Hmmm, obviously deliberately lit!
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Then police asked to see our Closed Circuit Television footage - we had this surveillance system installed when we completed our new showroom in May this year.  Every so often we get vandalised so we thought it may be a good deterrent to such crimes.
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(Idiots get joy out of stomping on car bonnets (hoods) or rubbing gravel into bonnets or running a coin down the side of vehicles or stealing a tail light or two or snapping off a side view mirror.   All these are small incidences that are not worth claiming insurance on (because of our excess), just a cost to us, the business owner.)
On viewing the recording, we found that a man had entered the car yard a good 1.5 hours before the blaze started.  He looked at many vehicles before leaving the yard, returning with a 5 litre can then proceeded to punch a hole in a fuel tank of a diesel Ford Focus.  We later discovered he let this fuel just go out onto the ashphalt.  He was after unleaded fuel.  This ashphalt will now need to be replaced as it is a fire hazard.
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He then made several more trips on and off the yard before finally going directly behind the grey Holden Barina.  Seconds later, KABOOM! an explosion occurs and he is seen running then falling to the ground with his trousers on fire.  He finally gets them off but picks them up and carries the flaming ball to the front of the yard then drops it.
Police had a pretty good idea of who the culprit was and on viewing the tape (known offender), were even more sure.  Now they just had to find him.  After a short search in the early hours of the morning, he was located with burns to his legs.  He is now is custody and has been charged with arson and illegal interference with a vehicle.
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This guy is a criminal, fresh out of jail recently and just can't help himself.  He is a serial shop lifter in our small town, has been banned from entering 5 different retail stores because he steals something every time he enters, yet he is out of jail again and offends less than a week later!  He also was picked up last Friday for another misdemeanor but let go...
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We are so thankful to our wonderful staff, who came to our aid Sunday night, shifting vehicles out of the workshop to safety in case it went up and helping to secure the premises afterwards.  We were still there at 3am.  On Monday morning, further mopping up was needed as a lot of water and foam was sprayed into the workshop just as a precaution and to cool the wall down.  By 8.30am, all staff were back on deck and working normally.
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Of course, mention must also be made about out local CFS brigade who had the fires under control within about 10 minutes then continued to make sure every spark and ember were extinguished in each vehicle, dousing them with retardant foam, which took a while.  The police were wonderful and acted quickly and we are so pleased we got this imbecile and that he is now in custody until he appears before a magistrate in the new year.

Here is a link to the news story (my hubby is in it) and footage of the blast and the idiot trying to get his pants off - its quite funny! 

http://au.news.yahoo.com/sa/a/20232515/man-sets-own-pants-fire/
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Cheers - Joolz xx

11 comments:

  1. Oh dear what a terrible thing to happen! So glad that the situation wasn't worse and that no one was hurt - except for the idiot without pants. Honestly some people are just absolute morons! Luckily the good ones kind of make up for the idiots!

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  2. I'm still shaking my head with the stupidity of the twit!!! Had a chuckle to myself when the interviewer said he wasn't a bright spark - no he wasn't and I don't think he even has a spark!!!

    It absolutely amazes me that people like him just keep on offending. We have just had a stressful time with some neighbours who were renting a house beside us. We are on two acres so thankfully they were some way from the house. We had fences broken, eggs and rocks thrown at our house, stuff pinched and a boat that we were minding vandalised. My husband approached them once when we just arrived home and caught them in the process of trying to get over the fence. They had scissors and knives in their hands which we assume they were going to use to slash the tyres and cover of the boat. They told him to f@#$ off you fat old *&@t (I asked which hurt the most the fat or old lol). The mother proceeded to tell him it wasn't his land and she was allowed to come over the fence and rip his f@#$ing throat out. Police were called so often we knew them on first name terms. They abused the police but in the long run they had worked the system that much they knew the drill and we couldn't pin anything on them because we didn't have proof and they were under 16 with a mother that always said they were inside with her. They even made a statement to police the my husband had poisoned their dogs. The police said I know you didn't do it but the point was they had got away with it once again. It was the third time that the police had the same problem with them at different houses theat they rented and they will do it at the house they moved to because they know how to get away with it.

    Thankfully you have survelliance and I hope they lock him up for a long time.

    Oh bloody hell I'm on my soapbox by the sound of this, I'm getting old and whingy but I hope it all works out for you all. It just seems unfair that people that work as hard as you and your workforce do then have their livelihoods jeoparised by some idiot who doesn't have to pay anything for his crimes and you are out of pocket for his stupidity.

    Now getting off soap box and going and cooking dinner and wondering what the world has come too.

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  3. Im so sorry to hear about all this, this actually really annoys me, people like this continually offending the minute they are out on parole. I hope everything will be ok x

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  4. Oh Joolz, what an awful experience for you - and a nightmare to fix the aftermath as well. Thank goodness the damage wasn't worse and that no-one was hurt.

    What on earth was he thinking lighting a cigarette around volatile fuel? I just can't fathom how some people think. Okay, he's a "career criminal" and steals compulsively, but this is deliberate, wanton damage just for a bit of petrol. What a moron.

    And I can't believe the damage that gets caused to your cars in general. I suppose they think it's "just a car" and that you can "get it back from insurance", but they don't see how it impacts on you personally. I wonder how they'd feel if you popped over to their driveway and did the same to their car, using the same reasoning. What a sad world we live in.

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  5. Oh what a mess Joolz. What an idiot - to say the least. it is just wrong that small businesses have to put up with this $_@(%! What a lot of damage with such small brain power involved. Hope you are on top with it all soon, glad it wasn't worse!. sending cyber hugs. cheers Wendy

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  6. bugger bugger bugger............so glad they got him and the business didn't catch light..............

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  7. a call at that time of night is usually not good news....glad the showroom and workshop didn't go up as well, but the damage caused by this idiot is bad enough.....pleased he has been caught and hopefully he will be away for a while!

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  8. Oh, no! So sorry you have to deal with this. Glad the cameras were up and running and that things weren't even worse.

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  9. OMG what a shock for you all,glad he got caught.xx

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  10. I really liked the way yahoo news reported it, quite amusing. Would have been better though if it not happened at all, what a bloody idiot! It gave the locals lots to talk about on Monday!

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  11. Thank goodness for surveillance cameras! You just wonder what drives people to such vandalism and mischief! Sounds like this fellow has a real problem and needs to spend some real time in a prison or mental health facility! The cost to you, even if covered by insurance, is more expensive insurance rates and the entire business could have burnt to the ground! Thank heavens that didn't happen!

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