UPDATE at 8:20 PM | FOUR children have now been charged with arson after allegedly burning down the former Big Brother compound on the Gold Coast.
In an updated statement just after 8pm on Saturday, police said six children allegedly went to the abandoned property behind Dreamworld at Coomera around 2.15pm and deliberately set it alight before fleeing the scene.
The fire ripped through the dilapidated mansion within minutes, burning it to the ground.
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The six children – aged between nine and 15 – were arrested at Coomera Train Station with 20 minutes of the blaze breaking out.
They were allegedly seen running from the scene moments before smoke began billowing into the air.
Police on Saturday night confirmed four of the children aged between 11 and 15 had been charged with arson.
They will be dealt with under the provisions of the Youth Justice Act.
Two nine-year-olds assisted detectives with their inquiries and were released without charge, police said.
The popular reality TV show Big Brother was filmed at the site for 11 seasons from 2001 before its cancellation in 2014.
The property is owned by Queensland Investment Corporation.
— 9News Queensland (@9NewsQueensland) June 22, 2019
EARLIER at 5:00 PM | HALF-a-dozen youths have been arrested after the former Big Brother house was completely destroyed, burnt to the ground in a suspected arson attack on the Gold Coast.
Six children, believed to be aged between nine and 15, were arrested at Coomera Train Station shortly after the blaze broke out on Saturday afternoon and are being questioned by police.
Witnesses earlier reported seeing a group of youths running from the scene, with a man telling myGC one of the kids “stopped to say how the smoke just below up”.
“He was very young,” the man said. “Then the group all continued to walk towards the train station.”
Another witness told myGC she saw “roughly four police officers” tackle a teenager.
It comes as firefighters manage to get the upper hand on the blaze, which consumed the abandoned Big Brother house, behind Dreamworld, shortly after 2pm on Saturday.
A fleet of fire crews rushed to the scene off Foxwell Road but, despite their efforts, were unable to save the home.
The fire was declared ‘under control’ shortly after 3.30pm, but not before destroying the iconic house.
— Nick Kelly (@njkelly9) June 22, 2019
Multiple crews were still on the scene at the time of writing, mopping up the mess.
It comes after the iconic house made headlines in May when footage emerged showing the once-lavish property in a state of disrepair after being abandoned and trashed by vandals.
The abandoned complex was reportedly set to be turned into a laser tag and paintball complex.
3:30 PM | FIREFIGHTERS are battling to save the former Big Brother house which has been consumed by fire following a suspected arson attack on the Gold Coast.
Emergency services were called to the abandoned property off Foxwell Road, behind Dreamworld, at 2.15pm.
Multiple fire crews were still on the scene, trying to contain the blaze at 3.30pm.
There are reports a group of teenagers were seen running from the scene.
Police have confirmed they are treating the incident as arson and are urging anyone with information to come forward.
“Initial investigations indicate that the fire is suspicious,” Queensland Police said in a statement.
“Police are appealing for anyone with information which could assist them with their investigations to come forward.”
Plumes of thick black smoke could be seen billowing into the air from several kilometres away.
— Leon Tomlinson (@leontomlinson97) June 22, 2019
The Queensland Fire and Emergency Service has warned smoke may affect motorists on the M1, north of Exit 54, and is urging motorists to drive with caution.
Nearby residents affected by smoke are being urged to close their windows and doors, and keep any necessary respiratory medication close by.
If residents are concerned their property is under threat they are advised to call Triple Zero (000) immediately.
Anyone with any information that could assist police is urged to call Policelink on 131 444 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
3:00 PM | POLICE have saturated Coomera in the search for a group of teens who were allegedly seen running away from the abandoned Big Brother house moments before it went up in flames.
The derelict building behind Dreamworld was consumed by fire shortly after 2pm on Saturday.
Authorities have confirmed emergency services were called to a structure fire off Foxwell Road at 2.15pm.
More than a dozen firefighters were still on the scene trying to save the house and extinguish the flames at 3pm.
A Queensland Fire and Emergency Service spokeswoman said crews arrived to find the house “well engulfed by flames”.
Thick black smoke could be seen billowing into the air from several kilometres away.
There are reports a group of teenagers wearing “hoodies and hats” were seen running from the scene.
One woman who drove past the scene said police had saturated the area.
“Cops were everywhere, sussing teenagers around the area,” she said.
“One teen got absolutely tackled by roughly four police officers.”
FIRST at 2:40 PM | THE abandoned Big Brother house at Coomera on the Gold Coast is reportedly on fire.
Large plumes of black smoke can be seen billowing into the air behind Dreamworld.
Emergency services received multiple triple zero calls shortly after 2pm.
It is yet to be confirmed if the fire has impacted the actual house, or is burning close to it.
There are unconfirmed reports a group of teenagers were seen running from the scene.
— Nick Kelly (@njkelly9) June 22, 2019