Police are urging people to remain calm as they investigate a suspected arson attack that gutted a house in Noosa overnight.
- Police are investigating “racially motivated” flyers that were circulating before the fire
- They say the house had been targeted by vandals before the blaze
- They are calling for witnesses or people with footage of the area taken on the night in question to step forward
A crime scene remains in place as police and fire investigators work to determine the cause of the fire, which started at about 1.30am on Wednesday.
Police are investigating potential links between the alleged deprivation of liberty and assault of a teenage girl earlier this month.
Last week, three girls aged 12, 13, and 14, were charged with those offences after being accused of luring a teenager to a property in the Noosa region and holding her against her will.
Police are investigating a “racially motivated flyer” that had been circulating before the fire.
Superintendent Craig Hawkins said the flyer had been distributed across Noosa and south-east Queensland.
“Early indications [suggest] that the flyer itself had been generated by people that don’t live on the Sunshine Coast or have no connection to the Sunshine Coast,” Superintendent Hawkins said.
“Early indications are it’s an interstate organisation.
“Simply, they are attempting to incite a level of fear, incite a racial dispute and they have no no real motivation other than that.”
He said police were working to find those responsible for the flyers and legal action could be taken.
“There is an offence under the Human Rights Act of racial vilification, which we can prosecute under and they can be subjected to up to six months in prison,” Superintendent Hawkins said.
Suspected arson attack
Detective Senior Sergeant Craig Mansfield said the Noosa house had been the target of vandalism since the incident.
“We’ve been doing regular patrols in the street since this first incident occurred up there,” he said.
“Given the house is now destroyed we do envisage that type of behaviour will reduce in the area.”
He called for calm in the community.
“We’re treating this as very serious,” he said.
“We just ask people allow [the court to go] through its process, and that’s in motion.
“That’s the system that we have in place in this country, in many countries around the world, and we hope that people would adhere to that.”
Anyone who witnessed the fire or has footage of the area at the time of the incident is urged to contact police.
“We have also our digital evidence team in Brisbane combing through social media trying to identify if there is any videos or social media posts about the incident,” Senior Sergeant Mansfield said.