Edinburgh student covered university smoke detector with plastic

An Edinburgh University student had to be pulled from a burning flat after he recklessly covered his smoke alarm.

Friday, 27th August 2021, 4:45 pm

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Muhammad Bin Baharuddin, 23, was living at student accommodation in Edinburgh when he decided to cover the detector in his room with plastic material.

The Malaysian student, who is studying Biological Sciences, had to be rescued from his first floor flat at Elliot House by two brave workers who ran to his aid in July last year.

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Covered the smoke detector: Baharuddin,

They found Baharuddin on his “hands and knees” struggling to get out of the room which was full of smoke and flames.

A subsequent investigation found the room’s smoke alarm had been covered by “bubble wrap or sellotape” to prevent it from working.

Baharuddin appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court and pled guilty to culpably and recklessly covering the smoke detector.

Fiscal depute Lynsay Magro said uni staff heard a fire alarm at around 9.30am on July 29 last year and rescued Baharuddin but the building had to be evacuated as a precautionary measure and the fire service were called out to deal with the blaze.

Ms Magro said: “Upon entering and putting out the fire the fire service noted the fire detector had been covered with something similar to plastic bubble wrap or sellotape.

“The detector had been entirely covered and the ability to detect smoke was impeded.”

The fire investigation found the fire had “started on a bed” within the property and the damage was said to have amounted to around £1000.

Baharuddin, who suffered burns to his body and had to spend a night in hospital, was later arrested and charged by police.

Defence solicitor Robert More told the court his client was currently in the fourth year of his degree course and at the time of the offence had been suffering from “mental health difficulties”.

Sheriff Chris Dickson deferred sentence to next month for the preparation of reports and a restriction of liberty order assessment.

Baharuddin pleaded guilty to culpably and recklessly covering a smoke detector with a plastic material to prevent the detector to function to the danger of lieges at Elliot House, Hillside Crescent, Edinburgh, on July 29 last year.

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