The Queensland home reported to be where a teenage girl was allegedly cut with a knife and tortured for hours has been declared a crime scene after a suspicious blaze tore through the Tewantin property overnight.
It comes days after the home was boarded up after being ransacked and vandalised, The Courier Mail reported, with recent events leaving residents in the Sunshine Coast suburb "fearful".
Emergency services were called to a fire at a Waratah Close address in Tewantin at approximately 1.30am on Wednesday to see the house "fully engulfed in flames," Queensland Police confirmed. No one was in the property — which is reportedly owned by the Queensland Housing Commission — at the time of the incident and no injuries were reported.
Police are waiting for the scene to be declared safe before conducting a full examination of the property, they said on Wednesday. Anyone who may have witnessed the incident, or has dashcam or CCTV from the surrounding area is urged to contact police.
Neighbours wake to see 'ball of fire'
Neighbours reportedly woke to the sounds of "popping" coming from the house, alerting some of them of the burning blaze. One said she heard a "bang" before the "roof caved in" and told Courier Mail she couldn't see the flames at first because of the boards on the windows.
Another resident said he became aware of the blaze when the firefighters arrived. "It was just a ball of fire it was just, you could see it burning and getting even worse," he reportedly said.
Teens arrested after alleged assault and torture
It comes after three girls aged 12, 13, and 14 were charged over the alleged assault and torture of a 13-year-old girl inside the home after she was lured there and "prevented from leaving".
Police allege the victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was filmed being assaulted, taunted and cut with a knife over the period of several hours before shocking footage was shared on social media earlier this month.
Alleged victim's shocking claims following torture
The alleged victim spoke of her ordeal on A Current Affair on Saturday night and claimed she'd been invited to the house for a party but she suspected something was off.
"I had a feeling in my stomach, like a gut feeling that I shouldn't go, but I just ignored it because I thought some of my close friends were going to be there," she told the program.
She alleged one of the girls threatened to kill her "multiple times" when she arrived at the house. She also alleged they threatened to kill her baby brother if she told anyone about the incident.
Residents who live in the street said they're shocked by recent reports of the "horrific" events that have unfolded.
"It’s the most fearful I’ve ever felt, like you’re just watching your back constantly," one neighbour told the Courier Mail. Several others witnessed the "horrific" vandalism carried out in "broad daylight".
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.