A senior firefighter has told a trial how residents had to escape from their windows after a blaze broke out at a block of flats.
Crews were called to the scene in St Clair Street in the city last February and five people were taken to hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.
Lee Munro, 19, is standing trial at Aberdeen Sheriff Court accused of starting the fire deliberately.
Scottish Fire and Rescue Service watch commander Alun Whyte, who is a fire investigation officer, gave evidence yesterday on the first day of the trial.
Asked by depute fiscal Anna Chisholm to take the court through the events of that night, he said two fire appliances were sent to the scene at 3.02am.
Asked if more crews were subsequently sent, he replied: “That’s correct. Once further calls were received from the control room they realised people were in danger and required rescue.”
He said a further appliance was sent to the scene, bringing the total number of firefighters involved in the incident to 13.
Asked to elaborate on how the people were in danger, Mr Whyte replied: “There were people rescued with a ladder from the first and second-floor windows.
“Five residents were in the care of the Scottish Ambulance Service.”
The court was shown pictures of the charred remains of a bed and mattress in the basement of the building, as well as smoke damage in the basement, a ground floor flat and stairwell.
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Mr Whyte’s report into the incident concluded a “deliberate act” was a “likely cause of the fire”, while a discarded cigarette or electrical fault were “unlikely” causes.
Shown a picture of an object found in the wake of the blaze, Mr Whyte said: “It’s a white gas disposable lighter and it was observed on the ground floor corridor adjacent to the top of the basement stairs.”
Munro, of Long Walk Road, Aberdeen, denies a charge of wilful fireraising over the incident, as well as a second charge of wilfully setting fire to a car at Links View, Aberdeen, on February 16 last year.
Defence agent Lynn Bentley said: “The phrase you use ‘likely’ and ‘unlikely’, would that be because it can’t be said definitively?”
Mr Whyte agreed and added: “You can’t definitively say that a dropped cigarette couldn’t have caused this. However looking at the evidence, in our opinion it would be unlikely.”
Ms Bentley said: “But still a possibility.”
The witness said: “That’s correct.”
The trial continues.