Christchurch suburb with the most suspicious fires

Aranui has ranked third in the country when it comes to suspicious fires.

Figures provided to the Herald on Sunday under the Official Information Act by Fire and Emergency show Aranui is third behind Palmerston North and Wainuiomata with data analysed over the past eight years.

But it comes as no surprise to a senior fire risk management officer Bruce Irvine said if you look at the social deprivation index it generally correlates to a higher number of suspicious fires.

The index is a measure of socio-economic status calculated for small geographic areas based on information gathers in the census.

“When it comes to Aranui, we are not surprised about the number, but it was mainly due to a big chunk of the red zone being in Aranui and a number of unoccupied buildings which were targeted by arsonists,” he said.

“I don’t want to tag Aranui as the only hot zone, there is a number around town such as the city centre, Hornby and Spreydon.”

Burwood Ward city councillor Glenn Livingstone said he was unaware of the numbers but said they could be skewed due to the red zone.

“If that is counted in the catchment of Aranui, then that could distort the numbers,” he said.

However, he said the new fire station being built on Anzac Drive will be of huge benefit to the community and working with other agencies such as police they would hope to see a reduction in suspicious fire numbers.

“They will bring a new level of education and responsiveness to the area which will benefit it,” he said.

When the Pegasus Post phoned Coastal-Burwood Community Board member Tim Baker for comment yesterday, he said: “Report something else, something positive,” and terminated the conversation.

•Additional reporting by Kelly Dennett.

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