Fans and cast members are stunned after a group of Australian teenagers are accused of burning down the Big Brother AU house. The Australian spinoff of the American (originally Dutch) reality TV show ended in 2014, leaving the iconic Gold Coast home abandoned. Shortly before the fire, the property went viral after fans saw how neglected it had been. Now, according to reports, the structure is destroyed.
Big Brother AU premiered in 2001 on Network Ten in Australia and ran for eight seasons before being canceled in July 2008. Much like the American version, strangers would live and compete in the home for a cash prize. During its first run, the series faced controversy, including the Australian prime minister at the time calling for its cancellation after the network live-streamed a woman being sexually assaulted by two men in the house. Despite the incident, the spinoff was later picked up by Nine Network and ran from 2012 to November 2014. During its eleven years on air, the show took place in the infamous Big Brother AU house.
Now, that iconic mansion - which had decayed in the years since the show's filming - has been destroyed in the wake of a fire that was set over the weekend. Six teens and children were arrested in connection to the crime, according to News.com.au, after they were seen running from the dilapidated mansion on Saturday afternoon. The fire broke out around 2:15 p.m. on Saturday, according to reports, sending huge plumes of thick, black smoke billowing into the air. Fortunately, no other nearby structures, including the adjacent Dreamworld theme park, were threatened by the flames.
Four of the children arrested, who are between the ages of 11 and 15, have been charged with arson, though the two nine-year-olds have been released. According to the Gold Coast Bulletin, five police vehicles and six firefighter crews were on the scene throughout the afternoon. Sadly, the Big Brother mansion couldn't be salvaged. A Queensland Fire and Emergency Services spokesperson said the fire was “well involved” at 2:30 p.m, despite firefighters working as hard as they could to stop the blaze. At the time, the area was also full of officers using aggressive tactics to find leads.