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Man accused of torching Brisbane hostel

AAP logoAAP 4/09/2016

A man has been charged with breaking into a Brisbane backpackers' hostel and setting it on fire, forcing the evacuation of about 200 people.

Police say the 28-year-old smashed a window at the hostel and then used an accelerant to start a blaze in a bathroom just before 7pm on Sunday.

Fire alarms went off and people began to flee, as the accused escaped through the broken window of the Fortitude Valley property.

But another man followed him to a nearby car park where he was arrested.

Authorities say it's very lucky no-one was hurt.

About 20 firefighters were sent to the scene, and managed to put out the blaze before it did any real damage.

One room was damaged and there was also smoke damage in an adjacent room.

The man has been charged with attempted arson and entering a premises with intent to commit an indictable offence.

He will appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday.

A fire service spokesman said it was lucky no one was hurt, given the fire was on the fifth floor.

He said early warning systems meant everyone was able to get out, and gave crews the time they needed to extinguish the flames before they could take hold.

"We had the fortunate circumstance where we had all of around 200 people evacuated really quickly," he told the ABC.

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