Police probe house blaze

THE Ravenswood house at the centre of a suspicious blaze has been the target of vandals previously, The Examiner  understands.

The fire, at 3 Rosetta Place, started about 9.55pm on Friday.

Firefighters controlled the blaze in less than 30 minutes.

The man who lived in the privately owned property escaped without injury.

Launceston Sergeant Nicole Cook said police were following a direct line of inquiry and the Northern Criminal Investigation Branch would handle the matter.

The house, surrounded by overgrown weeds and grass, was gutted.

What remains of the structure is an asbestos hazard.

Investigators examined one area of the house as a possible ignition point of the fire.

The Examiner  understands that vandals have previously pulled down fencing at the property, burnt a rear door and smashed windows, which is why windows were boarded up before Friday's blaze.

Police statistics show that across Tasmania, arson and related offences increased by 37 per cent, or 167 offences, in 2012-13.

There were 619 arson and related offences in 2012-13, compared with 452 such offences the previous year.

Arson made up 16 per cent of these offences in 2012-13, with unlawfully set fire to property accounting for the most, at 79 per cent, and unlawfully set fire to vegetation contributing the least, at 5 per cent.

Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide