Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

OOPS! LESSON LEARNT AFTER BOOK BURNING; Let-Off a Second Chance for Lucky School Leavers

Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

OOPS! LESSON LEARNT AFTER BOOK BURNING; Let-Off a Second Chance for Lucky School Leavers

Article excerpt

Byline: Nathan Paull Emergency Services

A SYMBOLIC book burning to celebrate the end of high school resulted in a bushfire that spread quickly through Callemondah yesterday.

Queensland Fire and Rescue crews were forced to put out the blaze, which spread thick smoke over the airport and New Auckland area.

QFRS Gladstone station officer Barry Maluga said police decided not to press charges against a 17-year-old school leaver and another boy with him at the time.

"We decided not to prosecute the boys," Mr Maluga said.

"(They were celebrating) the last day of school. We decided to give them a second chance."

The school leaver yesterday told The Observer he deeply regretted his act and was not aware fire bans were in place.

"I just finished school today and didn't like school that much so I decided to come out to Callemondah, because it was far away from houses, and burn my school books," he said.

"If only I knew this was going to happen, I wouldn't have done it.

"It is the stupidest thing I have ever done in my life."

The recent school graduate lit his books under a rail bridge but the wind and dry conditions sent the otherwise innocent gesture into a raging fire that spread on both sides of the track. …

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