Man, 40, charged with arson over Beerwah fires
UPDATE 7.15PM: Sunshine Coast detectives have this evening charged a 40-year-old Beerwah man with three counts of arson in relation to fires in Strawberry Rd this afternoon.
The man was also charged with one count of possessing explosives after fireworks were allegedly found in his possession.
The man is due to appear in custody in Maroochydore Magistrates Court tomorrow.
UPDATE 5.20PM: Housemates Kirk Smith and Matt Campbell were playing a video game when they heard the sound of splashing on a window at their Beerwah home.
They were shocked when they came outside to see a man standing at the top of their driveway with a blow torch.
"When we came out he was there trying to light it and he just goes 'run'," Mr Campbell said.
"So we ran at him and he ran off and went down and tried to start the neighbour's garden on fire as well."
They tried to battle the fire with a hose and extinguisher as well as grab some possessions but were unable to stop it from consuming the home, owned by their boss.
Their boss was not home at the time.
"In my room, I went in to get my wallet (and) my wallet was saturated in like gasoline," Mr Smith said.
"I don't know how it got on my wallet."
The two mates, both 18, had only moved in with their boss a few weeks ago.
They did not recognise the man at the front of the home but understood he had previously lived next door.
Mr Campbell said he had lost everything in the fire except his phone and his smokes.
"It's pretty depressing," Mr Smith said.
Meanwhile, fellow Strawberry Rd resident Cheryl Fox was left shaken after her encounter.
Mrs Fox was home alone hanging some washing out when she heard a bang from two houses up the road.
"I came in through the laundry and I heard a bang on my front bedroom window and I thought 'that's unusual'," Mrs Fox said.
"I came out... through the front door and at that stage he was trying to get in through my lounge room window, just shouldering it.
"He couldn't get in there because of the security screen so he went around the side of the house and my neighbour next door seen (sic) him trying to shoulder the side window to get in through the side window.
She said she just wanted out.
"I got my dog and I was going to my neighbour's.
"I didn't know what to think.
"I was in panic mode probably."
Mrs Fox said she recognised the man as a former neighbour from the house between hers and the one that burned down.
She said she had "no idea" what had motivated the incident.
She said she ordinarily would have been at work at C & M Seafoods in Beerwah but had just popped home to do the washing.
"So maybe it was (meant to be) a surprise for me when we got home."
A fire had been started in her front garden but neighbours used a hose to extinguish it before it reached the home.
A fellow resident from the street, who did not want to be named, described it as "a neighbourhood dispute gone wild".
The man described it as complicated and said it had been going for a few years.
He said he heard the first fire start and saw a man pouring something from a container at the house further down the road.
"I couldn't believe my eyes," he said.
"It's a really sad day."
Police seized a bag and items including a yellow gas-fuelled torch and two large, empty, plastic fuel containers from a ute parked at a property parked nearby in a Thompson Rd property.
A 40-year-old man was also taken into custody at the front of the property.
Police were this afternoon interviewing him at the Maroochydore Watch House.
No charges had been laid.
EARLIER: A MAN has been detained over fires that destroyed one home and damaged the garden of another at Beerwah.
One home has been destroyed by a fire and another, a couple of doors down, had its garden damaged in what one resident described as "a neighbourhood dispute gone wild".
Residents in the home that was destroyed said they went outside to investigate after hearing a splashing sound only to see a man armed with a blow torch setting fire to their rented home.
The timber home was quickly destroyed.
Witnesses say the man then went down the road and tried to shoulder his way into another house but was stopped by the woman who lived there.
When he was unable to get into the house he splashed petrol in the garden and set that alight. Neighbours put that fire out with garden hoses.
Residents in the neighbourhood helped police track a man to another home in the area where they detained a man and seized items including an empty blow torch and empty plastic fuel containers.
EARLIER: CREWS are still working to extinguish a fire at a Beerwah house.
When fire fighters arrived on the Strawberry Rd scene to find a house and shed fully involved in fire.
The fire has been brought under control but has not yet been extinguished.
INITIAL REPORT: FIRE FIGHTERS are battling a blaze that has engulfed a Beerwah house.
Emergency services were called to the Strawberry Rd home about noon to reports of a building on fire.
Fire fighters found a house fully engulfed in flames.
More to come