A woman has sent a hotel to quarantine in Queensland, Australia, as it caught fire by starting a fire under a bed in her room, police said, forcing the evacuation of the building’s 163 occupants.
The 31-year-old woman, who was quarantined at the Pacific Hotel in Cairns with her two children, was charged by police with setting the fire on Sunday.
Police said the fire broke out around 7am on Sunday in the women’s room on the top floor of the hotel in far north Queensland. Then it spread to the adjacent rooms.
The hotel was quickly evacuated, and there were no injuries. Chris Hodgman, acting Queensland Police Chief, said Sunday afternoon. But the hotel suffered “significant damage,” he said, and residents had to be moved to another quarantine facility.
Pictures and videos posted on social media showed flames and thick smoke rising from two rooms on the eleventh floor of the hotel.
Her two children who were occupying the room with them He added that the police are under police custody for a few days after arriving from another state in the country.
Authorities charged the woman with one count of arson and the other on one count of intentional malice. She was expected to appear in a district court on Monday.
Anyone arriving in Queensland from another state or from abroad must self-quarantine for 14 days as per the state’s epidemiological restrictions. Those with a home that complies with government standards about ventilation may be subject to home quarantine, but those who do not must quarantine at a particular hotel and pay the bill themselves.
The incident comes as anti-pandemic rallies continue to rise across Australia. On Saturday, police estimated that 20,000 people had taken to the streets of Melbourne to protest against plans by the state government to introduce a bill that would expand its powers to impose curbs on epidemics. Last weekend, thousands rallied in the country’s state capitals against vaccination requirements and coronavirus restrictions.
On Monday, Australia reported a third case of the Omicron coronavirus variant, in a South African traveler being quarantined in the Northern Territory. Two cases were detected in travelers under quarantine in New South Wales on Sunday.