Fire Fighters at the staging point for where they were fighting the blaze at Tabulam.
Fire Fighters at the staging point for where they were fighting the blaze at Tabulam. Marc Stapelberg

Arrest expected over devastating Tabulam blaze

UPDATE 6.20pm: POLICE have urged anyone with information about the cause of a destructive fire at Tabulam to come forward.

An Emergency Warning alert is still in place for the fire that's burnt through almost 3000 ha near the Bruxner Highway.

Richmond Police District crime manager Detective Inspector Cameron Lindsay said police were still investigating the cause of the blaze.

He said while no one had yet been charged over the fire, police were looking into a number of avenues.

"We are asking for anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers," he said.

"However, we are following a number of leads in relation to the cause of this fire.

"We have detectives from Lismore currently investigating the cause of the fire."

In the meantime, he said police would like to hear from anyone with information about the cause of the fire, which has destroyed structures and displaced people from the surrounding communities.

"It is a total fire ban and anyone that sees anyone lighting a fire should call Crime Stoppers or police," he said.

He warned there were "very significant penalties", including time behind bars, on the cars for those caught lighting fires during a Total Fire Ban.

ORIGINAL STORY: POLICE have revealed they expect to make an arrest over the cause of fires which swept through Tabulam yesterday.

Richmond Police District Inspector David Vandergriend confirmed another two houses were burned on Chauvel Rd., bringing the total to five.

"Five homes have been lost but fortunately all residents are accounted for," he said.

"Local detectives are investigating the source of a fire," he said.

"We are hoping to have some kind of legal action taking place by the end of the day."

When asked if the fire had been caused by an illegal burn-off, Insp Vandergriend agreed.

"This is one possibility," he said.

Penalties for starting fires on a day of total fire ban which cause damage are substantial, including $140,000, 12 years jail and leaves them open to civil action.

NSW Police impact assessment teams are currently working with teams from the RFS, Insp Vandergriend said.

"Essential Energy are on site and working with the Rural Fire Service to determine the extent of the damage and how long it will take to get the town back to the way it was," he said.

"We are also working out with the RFS and FACS how long it will take to get he displaced persons to their homes."

Ins Vandergriend said officers from Tabulam, Casino and Lismore had been assigned to the incident.

"They are assisting the criminal investigators from Casino," he said.

"We are obviously being guided by lead agency RFS and working with FACS who are looking after the displaced people and relocating them to alternate accommodation for the duration before they return.

"Our main role is to assist the RFS as the lead combat agency through evacuations, road closures and doing our best to main life and property from being damaged or lost."

Insp Vandergriend said the Tabulam Police Station has also regained power and he will be there on Wednesday morning with a mobile command vehicle.

"A possible southerly is due to come through later tonight which has the possibility of fanning the fires to the south-east and north-west fires which are still out of control," he said.

"We are planning what to if this occurs with RFS and FACS."



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