Glasgow & West Scotland

Darren Heaney jailed over Dumbarton flats fire raising

A man who started a fire after being thrown out of a flat in Dumbarton for trying to steal deodorant has been jailed for four years.

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

A man was injured jumping three floors to safety and the blaze also affected a couple with young children.

At the High Court in Glasgow, judge Lord Bracadale also ordered Heaney to be supervised for two years on release.

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

Burning smell

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.

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.

Fire rescue

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.

Jailing him, Lord Bracadale told Heaney: "This is a very serious charge. It is difficult to over-estimate the danger that you put the occupants of the flats in."

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