Alcohol-fuelled couch fire

A couch fire was fuelled with ''moonshine'' in the student quarter early yesterday, police say.

The Fire Service was called to the North Dunedin area four times in just over three hours to extinguish various items set alight, including couches, a chilly bin and a cushion.

Inspector Amelia Steel, of Dunedin, said 90%-proof moonshine was used as an accelerant in one of the fires.

''I may not have taken chemistry at university, but it does not stop me from knowing that it is bloody stupid to ignite accelerants near people and property.''

Two of the fires in Castle St were connected with a party attended by several hundred people, Insp Steel said.

A ''loud explosion'' was also reported at a fire in Leith St North, but the only objects found were a burnt-out chilly bin and cushion, she said.

Deputy proctor Andrew Ferguson said the occupants of several flats hosting parties and several other individual students ''have been summoned to the proctor's office for disciplinary investigations''.

''We would like to remind the small minority of students who behave in an antisocial way that they face disciplinary measures ranging from fines to community service to exclusion from the university.''

Last week, police said they were taking a ''zero tolerance approach'' to fire lighting and antisocial behaviour.

Firefighters will also visit student flats to warn party hosts that anyone caught lighting a fire will face the law.

More than 300 miscellaneous fires were reported in North Dunedin from July 2013 to June 2014.

hamish.mcneilly@odt.co.nz

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