Youths get blame for starting blaze

YOUTHS are believed to have deliberately lit a grassfire that forced five homes to be evacuated in Bargara on Wednesday night.

The fire started in an abandoned development property off Moodies Rd about 5.30pm, and fire crews worked well into the early hours to contain it.

Bundaberg police Criminal Investigation Branch Detective Senior Sergeant Joe Hildred said a number of children, aged between eight and 12, were seen playing near the area before the fire ravaged about 20ha of grass and cane paddocks.

"Detectives from Bundaberg Child Protection Investigation Unit have spoken to a number of youths that may have been responsible for the fire," Snr Sgt Hildred said. "A number of witnesses had seen these children playing with a cigarette lighter, and were believed to have started the fire before they left the scene."

Snr Sgt Hildred said no injuries had been reported, but roads remained blocked on Hughes and Watsons Rds for hours.

"Five houses were evacuated on Watsons Rd as a precautionary measure," he said.

Queensland Fire and Rescue Service Bundaberg station officer Justin Groth said more than 15 firefighters, both auxiliary and rural, worked from 5.30pm to about 2am to control the blaze.

"They were back out there yesterday to make sure it didn't start up again," he said.

Mr Groth said because of the direction the smoke had blown, residents had been advised to stay indoors.

"All emergency crews worked well together to contain the fire as well as looking after the safety of the community," he said.

It was the second suspicious fire for Bargara in a little over a week, after a car caught alight in the driveway of a Woongarra Scenic Dr home, last Wednesday.



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