Allan Jeffrey Ferry pleaded guilty to contravening local fire ban at Dysart. Picture: Tony Martin
Allan Jeffrey Ferry pleaded guilty to contravening local fire ban at Dysart. Picture: Tony Martin

CQ miner slammed for lighting fire during ban

A CENTRAL Queensland miner's decision to burn cardboard waste while most of the region was in drought sparked a blaze in his neighbour's yard and diverted resources from a large grassfire.

Allan Jeffrey Ferry, 57, claimed he had no idea there was a fire ban in place in Dysart when he set fire to two televisions boxes in a garden bed at the rear of his backyard on December 19.

The flames spread next door and scorched up to 10 sqm of his neighbour's grass before the man saw his yard was burning.

"It beggars belief how any rational thinking person can think that they can go down the back of their yard … and start a fire because they're too lazy to cut up their cardboard box and put it in the recycling bin," Magistrate Damien Dwyer said.

"And then leave that fire while it was still smouldering."

Mackay Magistrates Court heard the father of two had been on days off and wanted to get rid of the boxes during a clean up around the McLennan St home.

"Hasn't he got a recycling bin, that's what cardboard goes into?" Mr Dwyer asked.

"These were large big screen TVs - so they wouldn't have fit in his bin," defence solicitor Geoff Govey said.

"He watched the flames burn out and subside and then, as a result of his medical condition, was forced to go upstairs for a period of time.

"When he came back down, police were in his yard."

During December last year a large part of the Isaac region was in drought. A fire ban had been in place since December 4.

Prosecutor Chelsea Pearson said QFES officers also went to the home and rendered it safe. "They had to be diverted from fighting a large scale grassfire on the outskirts of town," she said.

Ferry, who has no criminal history, pleaded guilty to breaching a fire ban.

Mr Dwyer said a "strong general deterrence and strong personal deterrence" was needed.

He was fined $1250. A conviction was not recorded.


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