Buna Street resident claims she fell on deaf ears when she reported the juvenile 'hideout'

The Ashmont property after it was set on fire.
The Ashmont property after it was set on fire.

AN ELDERLY Buna Street resident claims her cries fell on deaf ears when she reported suspicious activity inside an abandoned Ashmont home.

Police this week revealed the vacant building – deliberately set fire to on Monday night –  was being used as a hideout by juvenile criminals. 

The information came as no surprise to Diane Gladstone, who said the dilapidated property was being used as a “house of delinquency” for more than three years. 

Ms Gladstone told of the terror she experienced when the teenagers allegedly stirred up trouble in the neighbourhood.

“You’d just hear bottles smashing, screaming and banging,” she said.  

“I knew kids were getting inside, but nobody would listen to me or do anything about it. 

“One week Telstra left me without a phone and I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to call anybody if they did something.”

Firefighters rushed to the eastern end of Buna Street around 10.30pm on Monday to tackle a blaze that had gutted the home and scorched grass in the overgrown backyard. 

Investigators believe several arsonists entered the house through the rear bedroom and used accelerant to spark the fire. 

Ms Gladstone said trespassers mostly entered the house through the laundry window.

“We always thought it's not a case of if – but when – the house goes up in flames,” she said.

“Every time we heard the fire brigade, we thought it was for that place.”

Detective Inspector Darren Cloake this week claimed it was being used by Ashmont teenagers as a “lair”. 

“It is believed to have been used as a meeting point and for squatting by a number of troubled juveniles,” he said.

“This may have been the motive for the fire being lit.

“It sustained significant damage and has since been closed off due to an asbestos risk. Investigations are ongoing and we will be keeping an eye on abandoned properties.”  Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers. 


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