ACT police believe a fire that destroyed the house of a Canberra man who died a fortnight ago was deliberately lit.
Neighbours were woken by the bright light of the flames and the sounds of explosions on Hakea Crescent in O’Connor about 4:30am today.
“The flames were coming from the front of the house first up, and they must have been 10 metres high, so it was quite a roar,” said a neighbour, Hardy Palethorpe.
“Then it spread through the roof of the house and it just reached the carport [at the back of the property] about 20 minutes later.”
Another neighbour, Annette, said she sheltered at the back of her house because she was scared large gas bottles would explode.
“I was scared of them. I was scared something would happen,” she said.
“[I could see] flames roaring up into the sky. It was really bad. You could feel the heat.”
The ABC understands the resident of the government-owned property died about two weeks ago after a battle with cancer but his possessions were still at the home.
Police guarded the crime scene for most of this morning while forensics officers combed the burnt-out house in their search for clues.
“We are treating the matter as suspicious at this stage and we are asking anyone who may have seen something suspicious to contact Crime Stoppers,” Detective Sergeant Tony Crocker said.
Emergency services were called to two rubbish fires, also in O’Connor overnight, that police believe were also deliberately lit.
“We do look at all these incidents together but are mindful they may not be related,” Detective Sergeant Crocker said.