Australia — A FORMER volunteer firefighter allegedly lit a blaze last October that ripped through southern Lake Macquarie and destroyed one of the region’s most historic buildings.
The 21-year-old former NSW Rural Fire Service member has not entered pleas to 12 charges of arson relating to fires he allegedly lit last year during August, September and October in the Lake Macquarie area.
The most recent blaze for which he is allegedly responsible started at Mannering Park on the Central Coast on September 30, smouldering underground for more than two weeks before reigniting in extreme conditions on October 17.
Within hours, that fire consuming hundreds of hectares of bush and forced the evacuation of the entire township of Catherine Hill Bay.
Firefighters managed to save most properties but the historic Wallarah House was among the buildings destroyed.
Police allege the 21-year-old man also lit a grass fire at Mannering Park on September 29, the day before the fire that sparked the Catherine Hill Bay inferno began.
He was bailed to appear in Toronto local court on January 15.