The Big Brother house in Australia has burned down, with two children being charged with arson.
The mansion on the Gold Coast, which has been abandoned since the show’s cancellation in 2014, was allegedly set alight on Saturday afternoon (June 22).
Emergency services were soon called to the property after smoke could be seen pouring out of the building shortly after 2pm.
Police allege six children went to the Big Brother house at Coomera at approximately 2.15pm and deliberately set it alight before fleeing the scene. The fire tore through the Gold Coast mansion within minutes, burning it to the ground, 9News reports.
The six children, aged between nine and 15, were arrested at a nearby train station within 20 minutes of the fire breaking out – after they were seen running from the scene.
Four were later charged with arson, while two nine-year-olds were released without charge after assisting police with their investigation.
A Queensland Fire and Emergency Services spokesperson confirmed to 9News that multiple fire crews were required to tackle the fire.
They warned smoke could affect drivers travelling on nearby motorways, advising motorists in the area to drive with caution because of the difficult conditions.
The mansion was home to reality TV show Big Brother for 11 seasons, from 2001 to 2014 until its cancellation. The property is owned by Queensland Investment Corporation.
Rylan Clark-Neal, who hosted Big Brother’s Bit on the Side in the UK, took to Twitter to respond to the news, calling it ‘very sad’.
Very sad news about the Big Brother Australia house #BBAU x
— Rylan Clark-Neal (@Rylan) June 22, 2019
As reported by myGC, the suspects were allegedly scene running from the scene wearing ‘hoodies and hats’.
An eyewitness said:
Cops were everywhere, sussing teenagers around the area. One teen got absolutely tacked by roughly four police officers.
Another person saw one of the kids ‘stop to see how the smoke just blew up,’ adding he was ‘very young’. ‘Then the group all continued to walk towards the train station,’ they added.
One eyewitness said she saw ‘roughly four police officers’ tackle a teenager.
— Nick Kelly (@njkelly9) June 22, 2019
The fire was declared ‘under control’ shortly after 3:30pm, however the iconic house was destroyed despite firefighters’ best efforts.
Multiple crews were still at the scene throughout the evening, attempting to clear up the mess caused by the ginormous blaze.
The children charged with arson will be dealt with under the provisions of the Youth Justice Act.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).