Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

200 hours community service for starting blaze

A MAN who tried to burn himself alive last New Year’s Eve only to end up calling the fire brigade after setting his flat ablaze avoided a prison sentence at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday.

Douglas Preacher, aged 40, had drunk 12 cans of lager before spraying his bedroom at 4 Da Vadill, Lerwick, with lighter fuel and setting it alight.

Choking on the fumes he ran out of the building and called the fire brigade, while the fire set off alarms throughout the brand new housing association complex and forced all its occupants to evacuate their homes.

Last month Preacher, who now lives at 22 Ladies Drive, admitted starting the fire that caused £40,000 worth of damage.

On Wednesday defence agent Tommy Allan said he had been depressed at the time and had drunk far too much beer, but since then had not touched a drop of alcohol. He added that his client was ashamed and embarrassed about what he had done.

Sentencing him to one year’s probation and 200 hours community work, Sheriff Graeme Napier said this was one of the most serious types of offence he had dealt with in this court.

“Fortunately these incidents are not as dangerous as they might have been in the 19th century when they didn’t have the benefit of fire or smoke alarms,” he said.

“You are very fortunate you were living in a modern establishment, however it was so modern and so new that you caused a huge amount of damage to it and you will never be in a position to repay that.”