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Boy, 14, charged over fire that destroyed newlyweds' home

UP IN SMOKE: The upper level and roof of the Petersen Road residence was destroyed in the blaze.
UP IN SMOKE: The upper level and roof of the Petersen Road residence was destroyed in the blaze. Rachel Lang

A 14 YEAR OLD boy has been charged with arson, wilful damage, and three counts of burglary after a Morayfield townhouse was engulfed by flames last Wednesday.

The premise was left with extensive damage to the upper floors and roof, and a neighbouring unit suffered smoke damage.

Emergency crews were called to the Petersen Road home at 2.35pm by neighbours who had witnessed smoke coming from the building.

Residents of the Northfields complex watched on while fire crews extinguished the blaze, which was put out by 3pm.

Neighbour Keith Hyde was one of the first to sound the alarm, to ensure that nobody was trapped inside.

"I kicked the door in, went inside and yelled out and asked if anyone was there, but I couldn't hear anything," he said.

"Then the firies arrived."

Witnesses said that black smoke could be seen from Morayfield Road.

"I was getting my granddaughter from school and I could see the smoke," neighbour Dawn Grace said.

The residents of the two story brick residence weren't home at the time. Newlyweds Gurmukh Singh and Neera Preet moved into the townhouse in June, buying all new furniture to deck out their house, some which will now be ruined.

The couple said they will stay with friends until they can find somewhere else to call home.

"We don't have any other option as they're not going to allow me to get some clothes or anything," Neera said.

Neera had left the property 20 minutes prior to go shopping on her day off.

She said that the property managed had called her on her mobile to tell her the news.

"I didn't know what to - do how could I drive? I just started shivering and tried to call to my husband."

When he finally picked up her call, Neera said that she told him to go home immediately.

Gurmukh said that the police had told them that their belongings were scattered across the apartment which had indicated an attempted theft.

"Photos were scattered, the drawers were open, and when they couldn't get anything they have lit the fire."

Residents of the Northfields complex had received text messages from management warning them about suspicious activity. One such text read, "Due to recent break-ins in the complex and around the area, the Northfields office reminds all tenants to key lock your units when you are out. Please report to the police and Northfields Office if you see something/someone suspicious." The boy has also been charged with other break-ins at the complex.

Topics:  arson burglary editors picks fire fire and emergency services police wilful damage



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