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Julie Bundock was preparing for an open house at a four-bedroom house in Sydney when she noticed the current renters had left bedding on the deck to dry.

She removed the sheets and threw them in a downstairs room onto a shelf near a light, which she then switched on, it has been reported.

About 20 minutes later, a major fire broke out in the house on Riverview Road in Avalon Beach, believed to be caused by the shelf and bedding heating up and catching fire due to the light.

The house, which is estimated to be worth about £1.5m, along with all of its contents, were destroyed in the fire

The owner of the property, Peter Alan Bush, and the tenants took the matter to court.

Chief Judge in Equity Justice David Hammerschlag handed down his judgment this week in the Supreme Court, after determining that Bundock ‘actively created the risk of fire and the consequent harm’.

He ordered Bundock’s employer, Domain Residential Northern Beaches, to pay Bush $740,642 for the loss of his house and a combined $121,475 to the four tenants.

Hammerschlag also ordered the agency to pay interest on the combined $862,315, from the time of the fire in May 2019.

“That a fire might be caused by putting or throwing bedding up against a burning light is obvious. That risk was plainly foreseeable, and Bundock ought to have known this,” he said on handing down his decision.

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