A Tayside woman who released potentially deadly “toxic fumes” when she started a bathtub fire has been spared prison.
Suzanne Stewart set fire to her clothes in the bath and liquefied the tub at her Montrose flat in January last year.
Forfar Sheriff Court heard she had a change of heart and warned ground-floor neighbours in Castle Street to get their “little one” to safety after attempting to douse the flames with the shower.
But the court heard this made the fire “10 times worse” and flooded the bathroom with noxious chemicals.
The 41-year-old, now of Clepington Road, Dundee admitted wilfully raising a fire and causing damage to her home on January 21 2016.
Depute fiscal Jill Drummond said Stewart appeared on petition at Forfar on April 21, was granted bail at that time, and tendered a guilty plea on June 7.
Ms Drummond said she had set the fire around 11pm after an argument with her son, but notified Scottish Fire and Rescue soon after.
“By this stage the accused had raised the alarm with the neighbours,” she added.
“She asked ‘is the little one in? You better take her out because of the fire.’
“By then the bath had started to melt which released poisonous gas.”
The court heard the fire caused £1,960 damage, which was paid for by the flat’s owner.
Defence agent Amy Fox said the incident came about through drinking and her client had sought help over alcohol issues.
“She recognises the distress it caused to her neighbours and the consequences could have been far more serious,” she said.
“She tried to put the fire out, she called the fire brigade, and she warned her neighbours.
“She very much regrets this, and has previous convictions, but nothing of this ilk.”
Sheriff Pino Di Emidio said: “This is in any view a very serious offence.
“There could have been serious consequences indeed.
“However it is to your credit, and in your mitigation, you took action to raise the alarm shortly after the offence.”
As an alternative to custody, the sheriff imposed 250 hours of unpaid work after a limited discount “to mark the court’s displeasure” and a one-year supervision order.