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Giants of Mandurah fire: Hopes statue can be rebuilt as police offer $25,000 reward for information

A suspicious fire that destroyed a popular art exhibition in Perth's south has caused an outpouring of anger and disbelief, as police offer a $25,000 reward for information.

The fire on Friday night caused extensive damage to Vivi Cirklestone, one of five wooden sculptures created by Danish artist Thomas Dambo and hidden throughout bushland in Mandurah, with a six installed in Subiaco.

FORM chief executive Tabitha McMullan, who helped bring the artworks to WA, told ABC Radio Perth she was "absolutely devastated" to hear the news.

"I was shocked, appalled [and] I just couldn't believe it. We were hugely saddened by the loss of Vivi Cirklestone," she said.

"My heart really goes out to all of the community and everyone who's visited her … and to all those volunteers and community organisations that supported bring her to life.

"We're all just joining in sadness with them today."

Thousands flocked to see sculptures

The exhibition, which opened last month, had attracted tens of thousands of visitors from WA, interstate and abroad.

Each giant is made from recycled wood, including pallets from a brewery in Perth, and took a team of workers and volunteers on site about 750 hours to construct.

Ms McMullan said artist Thomas Dambo was also "extremely sad" about the incident, but was grateful for the messages of support he had received from the community.

"Thomas by no means sees this as an act that is representative of the general public," she said.

"This is an isolated incident and we really hope that we can see through to getting to the bottom of it.

"I think Thomas is certainly spreading the word that Mandurah and Western Australia was one of the most exciting places that he visited in terms of the natural environment [and] uniqueness, but also in terms of the community.

Ms McMullan said the organisation was working closely with the City of Mandurah to find ways to protect the other sculptures, including introducing overnight security.

"Thomas supports that [because] he obviously wants to keep the rest of the exhibition safe and intact, and hopefully we can find a solution moving forward," she said.

Ms McMullan said there was also a possibility the destroyed sculpture could be rebuilt.

"We're optimistic that we can find a solution," she said.

"We don't have any details as of yet, but we would love to be able to recreate something and make sure that the trail still works as a six-sculpture trail, and the game still works.

"The good news is that Thomas did train some people on the ground … so even if [he] can't get here in person, there could be a possibility for the community to get behind and support a recreation, should we be able to make that happen."

Arson squad investigating blaze

Police minister Paul Papalia said the arson squad was still investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Mr Papalia said he hoped the person responsible for the attack would be "brought to justice".

"That arsonist has done a terrible thing … it's a stupid, ridiculous act," he said.

"I cannot imagine what their motivation was, but I hope that police can track that person down and I also hope that something can be done to re recreate the installation."

Ongoing probe into 'disgusting' fire

WA Police Acting Inspector Tom Tristram said the investigation was being treated as a priority. 

"The samples that we've taken and obtained from this scene have been forwarded through for analysis," he said.

"We've got a large amount of information that has been received that we're still sifting through and we're confident that the name of the suspect will be within that that information.

"The investigation hasn't identified at this time whether it's a single person operating alone or a group of people, but that's certainly one avenue that we are exploring."

He said security patrols had also increased in the areas of the remaining sculptures, but there was "nothing to suggest that this [was] going to be repeated." 

"Personally, I think it's disgusting and cowardly. I've seen a lot of the footage.

"The local community down that way are outraged and obviously upset. It was a great tourist thing for the area as well as WA and I think it's disgusting what's occurred."

Police are urging anyone who has CCTV, mobile phone or dash-cam vision of the area between 10:30pm on Friday and 1:30am on Saturday, or who has information relating to the fire, to contact Crime Stoppers.

Information that leads to a conviction could attract a $25,000 reward.

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