Man could face jail after admitting starting Tollcross flat fire

Fifteen were rescued from the fire in Tarvit Street
Fifteen were rescued from the fire in Tarvit Street
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A MAN who sparked a blaze that saw 15 people rescued from a smokelogged tenement with another leaping from a third storey window could be facing jail after admitting he started the fire.

A MAN who sparked a blaze that saw 15 people rescued from a smokelogged tenement with another leaping from a third storey window could be facing jail after admitting he started the fire.

Thomas Ferrier, 21, from Eskview Grove in Dalkeith, pleaded guilty to culpably and recklessly setting fire to a ground floor flat in Tarvit Street in Tollcross on November 11 - endangering the health and lives of the residents.

Fiscal Depute, John Kirk, said that about 2am residents returning home saw two men they didn’t recognise, one of whom was Ferrier, in the common stair. A short time later residents were awoken by banging and shouting and became aware of thick black smoke filling the stairwell. The smoke was coming from flat four on the ground floor and as a result no-one could get out.

Firefighters brought the residents to safety using a turntable ladder apart from one 35-year-old man who jumped from a third floor window, seriously fracturing his back. Nine people were taken to hospital, including two pregnant women and the accused.

Eight suffered smoke inhalation and a 35-year old man received treatment for a serious spine fracture after jumping from the third floor window.

The Fiscal said that Tollcross Fire Station was only some 200 metres away “as the crow flies”. Mr Kirk said Ferrier had admitted starting the fire.

Defence solicitor, Cheryl Beattie, told Sheriff William Holligan that her client had been on a night out and “alcohol had been taken”. He was at a party in the flat above flat four. She said there had been a fire in the ground floor flat previously caused by an electrical fault and he had gone down with another man to assess the damage. While there, cigarettes were lit. Ferrier, she added, had discarded his cigarette “by flicking it through into the kitchen area”. The kitchen contained rubbish and as Ferrier walked into another room he became aware that the cigarette had ignited the rubbish. He then ran upstairs to the party flat, banging and shouting at the door to alert his friends.

Sheriff Holligan deferred sentence until next month for reports.