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Fifteen-year-old arsonist tells court he didn't mean to set Christchurch's historic Antonio Hall ablaze


The 15-year-old boy who caused a huge blaze at a Christchurch heritage building said today he didn’t expect the building to go up in flames.

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The unoccupied Antonio Hall suffered extensive damage in Friday night's fire. Source: 1 NEWS

Around 50 firefighters battled the fire at Antonio Hall on July 12 for several hours.

The building had been unoccupied since the 2011 earthquakes and nobody was injured in the fire, but it was extensively damaged.

The boy, who has automatic suppression, appeared in Youth Court today for sentencing on the arson charge.

The court heard that he had been drinking alcohol when he entered Antonio Hall on the night of the blaze.

He set fire to a thread hanging from mattresses sitting against the wall in the derelict building, with the intention of putting it out, he said. 

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Six fire engines are attending the blaze at the building which is currently closed to the public. Source: 1 NEWS

However, when he went to fill up a drink bottle in the bathroom to douse the fire he discovered that the water had been disconnected, the teen said.

He then left the building and called the fire brigade.

The 15-year-old also prepared a letter for the owners of Antonio Hall after the fire, expressing how remorseful he was.

As the boy was also facing charges of theft, possession of methamphetamine and assault, Judge Jane McMeeken remanded him on bail with strict conditions to appear in the Drug Court on November 28.