Backpacker escapes tent fire in Apsley

The scene of the incident on Sunday morning. Photo: Paula Gust
The scene of the incident on Sunday morning. Photo: Paula Gust

A man is in custody assisting police with their enquiries after a backpacker's tent caught fire in Apsley on Saturday night.

Edenhope Sergeant Andrew North said the 75-year-old from Queensland arrived in Apsley on Saturday afternoon, setting up his tent on a piece of council-owned land on Laidlaw Street.

"At approximately 11pm he heard a few voices outside his tent and they weren't too friendly towards him," Sergeant North said.

"When he got out the people had gone so he went back to sleep. A few minutes later it appears someone has deliberately set his tent on fire, and when he jumped out of the tent he was confronted by the alleged offender holding an axe."

Sergeant North said the 75-year-old left the scene to seek help, and staff at the Border Inn Hotel took care of him for the night. He said the man was not badly burnt in the incident.

"He didn't need to go to hospital. He had some minor cuts to his leg when he fell getting out of his tent, but paramedics assessed him and he didn't require further treatment," he said.

Sergeant North said Horsham Police's Criminal Investigation Unit was looking into the incident with support from the Arson and Explosives Squad.

Detective Leading Senior Constable Neil Roberts said no charges had been laid.

Sergeant North said anyone with additional information on the incident could report it to Crime Stoppers or Edenhope police station on 5585 1003.

"On behalf of police our thanks go out to the Border Inn for their generosity and hospitality," he said. - Wimmera Mail-Times story