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.