Fingal arson attack

TWO young women were left with almost nothing after their belongings were set alight and fire tore through Fingal Head yesterday.

The two unidentified women, who told the Tweed Daily News they lived in a tent at Doppys Beach, watched helplessly as their tent and limited other belongings disappeared after being set alight just before 3pm.

According to one witness, the culprits also started a fire in a section of bushland before they brazenly swam away from the scene.

While the fire on the beach that destroyed the women's belongings slowly went out, the bushfire raged out of control due to a strong northerly wind. It took two units from Tweed Heads and Kingscliff fire brigades and two from the Cudgen Rural Fire Service more than an hour to extinguish the fire and make sure it was contained.

The two women watched on as the structure that had once been their home disintegrated into ash, but an overturned green shade sail that had been nearby remained intact.

"We went to do the shopping and when we came back all our stuff was on fire," one of them said. "A man who was over there fishing told us he saw a group of kids run over and light the stuff. It's a stupid thing to do and they didn't have to do it to our stuff."

Thick clouds of grey smoke covered parts of the Tweed yesterday while the fire blazed and the bushland smouldered.

One man at the scene, who had arrived on a jet ski, said he had smelt the smoke on his way back from Murwillumbah.

"Obviously it had been deliberately lit," NSW Fire Brigades Tweed Heads station officer Chris Perrin said.

"The two girls said they went to do the shopping and when they came back they saw the flames."

The blaze engulfed about 300 square metres of bushland at the northern end of Letitia Road, and firefighters said it was lucky it had not been worse considering the direction of the wind.

"It was lucky we got there when we did because being at that northern-most area, with the wind the direction it was going, it could have gone right down the spit." Mr Perrin said fires were often deliberately lit in that area along Letitia Road.

"Because that is an isolated area with not many people around they can wander into the bush and light something up without anybody seeing." Police attended the scene and later said they believed the culprits to be a group of teenagers. Descriptions of the offenders were not available late yesterday.

Mr Perrin reminded people to be vigilant and to report sightings of smoke or suspicious activity to the fire brigade and police.



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