24 February 2023

Former firefighter Daniel Dennis released on conditional bail

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Wagga Wagga Local Court

A 33-year-old former firefighter faced Wagga Wagga Local Court for allegedly lighting a grass fire and attending the blaze as a volunteer to extinguish it on Kapoopka Road in San Isidore. Photo: Shri Gayathirie Raje

Ashmont man Daniel Dennis faced Wagga Wagga Local Court on 22 February for allegedly lighting a grass fire and attending the blaze as a volunteer to extinguish it on Kapoopka Road in San Isidore.

The 33-year-old former NSW Rural Fire Service volunteer has been granted bail with strict conditions.

He must not be absent from home between the hours of 8 pm and 8 am, must not contact triple-zero unless in the case of an emergency and thereafter as soon as is safe he is to contact the officer in charge of Wagga Wagga Police Station advising of contact.

He must not be in possession of a lighter, matches or any other item capable of starting a fire while in a public place, not be in possession of any item capable of covering or disguising his face including a hoodie, balaclava or similar in a public place and he is to surrender all Rural Fire Service uniform, identification or items belonging to the Rural Fire Service within 24hrs of being released from custody.

Dennis has been charged with intentionally cause fire and be reckless as to its spread and make false call to emergency service number.

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Dennis will appear at Wagga Wagga Local Court again on 22 March.

Police said shortly after 2:10 am on 11 December 2022, a passing NSW Ambulance vehicle observed a small grass fire on Kapooka Road in San Isidore, about 7km west of Wagga Wagga, and contacted emergency services.

Crews from the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) arrived and extinguished the flames.

The cause of the blaze was deemed suspicious and referred to police for further investigation.

In January 2023, Strike Force Tronto, including detectives from the State Crime Command’s Financial Crime Squad Arson Unit, Riverina Police District and RFS Fire Investigators, commenced Strike Force Madrer to investigate this fire and a number of other suspicious fires from December and January in the Wagga Wagga area.

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Dennis was arrested following inquiries by strike force detectives who executed a search warrant and a digital evidence access order at a home on Bardia Street, Ashmont, on 9 February.

Investigations are continuing under Strike Force Madrer.

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