26 September 2023

Former volunteer firefighter Daniel Dennis convicted over deliberately lit blaze

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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A 33-year-old ex-firefighter faced Wagga Wagga Local Court charged with intentionally causing fire and making false calls to an emergency service number. Photo: Shri Gayathirie Rajen.

A former NSW Rural Fire Service volunteer has been convicted after lighting a grassfire and attending the blaze as a volunteer to extinguish it on Kapoopka Road, San Isidore, last year.

Ashmont man Daniel Dennis faced Wagga Wagga Local Court on Monday (25 September), charged with intentionally causing fire and making false calls to an emergency service number.

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

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

The cause of the blaze was deemed suspicious and referred to the 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, launched Strike Force Madrer to investigate that fire and several other suspicious blazes from December and January in the Wagga Wagga area.

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

Magistrate Don McLennan sentenced the 33-year-old to a two-year community correction order and imposed a $1500 fine.

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