Man, 22, charged with arson after allegedly torching building

A BACKPACKERS building badly damaged by Cyclone Debbie last year has been destroyed by an enormous fire at Airlie Beach after being torched in a suspected arson attack.

Emergency services were called to Nomad’s Caravan Park on Shute Harbour Road shortly before midnight on Friday after the reception building erupted into a huge fireball.

A 22-year-old man from New South Wales is accused of walking into the vacant building on the main street of the Whitsunday’s resort town and setting it alight about 11.40 pm before fleeing on foot.


He was arrested a short time later and has since been charged with arson and contravene requirement.

The 22-year-old is due to appear in Mackay Magistrates Court on Monday morning.

Firefighters eventually extinguished the raging inferno, but not before it totally destroyed the building.

Videos from the scene uploaded to social show locals and tourists lining the main street, watching on in shock as huge flames devoured the building.

Thankfully, nobody was injured during the incident.

Terrible fire in main street Airlie Beach

Posted by Christine Filosi on Friday, 19 October 2018

Jaydan is a Digital News Producer at He was appointed Managing Editor of the Junee Southern Cross newspaper at the age of 17 and has since held positions in a number of newsrooms in New South Wales and Queensland. Jaydan joined the Hot Tomato Broadcasting Company in 2013 and has been keeping the Gold Coast up to date with the latest local, national and international news online at ever since. With almost ten years’ experience in both print and digital media Jaydan is committed to providing the best coverage during major news and weather events.

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