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Darren Heaney faces jail over Dumbarton fire raising

  • 10-31-2011

A man is facing prison for starting a fire after being thrown out of a flat for trying to steal deodorant.

Darren Heaney, 25, admitted torching a pram and bin in the common close of flats in Dumbarton's Merkins Avenue on 27 July this year.

The High Court in Glasgow heard a man was injured jumping three floors to safety and the blaze also affected a couple with young children.

Judge Lord Bracadale deferred sentence until later in November for reports.

Chance meeting

Heaney, of Dalmuir, West Dunbartonshire, admitted to a charge of wilful fire-raising.

The court heard how the man who jumped three floors to safety - Ross McCutcheon - met Heaney by chance on the day of the fire.

They went to Mr McCutcheon's flat in Merkins Avenue where he lived with girlfriend, Cheryl Wallace.

Heaney later tried to take a can of deodorant, but Mr McCutcheon grabbed it back and told him to get out.

The couple soon became aware of a burning smell coming from the close.

When Mr McCutcheon opened the front door he discovered the close was full of thick black smoke and extremely hot.

He closed the door and the couple went to the living room window to shout for help.

Broken ankle

Mr McCutcheon, feeling overwhelmed by heat and smoke later jumped three floors onto the concrete below.

He broke his ankle, both heels and fractured six vertebrae in the jump.

His girlfriend Miss Wallace required treatment for sustained burns and bruising as well as for smoke inhalation.

The court also heard how neighbours Stephen Gallacher and Nicola Stewart were in a downstairs flat with three children.

Miss Stewart threw down a blanket to witnesses outside so the youngsters could be dropped to safety.

This was not needed, however, as firefighters and police arrived at the scene to successfully rescue those trapped inside the flats.

Heaney was arrested the same day as the fire after he was spotted throwing away a kitchen knife.

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Reproduced under licence from BBC News © 2011 BBC


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