A convicted drug dealer’s home may have been targeted deliberately by fireraisers.
Jody Bruce had to be treated for smoke inhalation by paramedics after a blaze at his Buckie home.
Police have confirmed they believe the fire at the property in the port’s Low Street was started deliberately.
And it is understood officers have not ruled out a link to Mr Bruce’s past links to the local drugs scene.
The 38-year-old was jailed for more than two years in 2010 after a sheriff told him he was “involved in an evil trade which brings misery and ruin to many lives”.
Mr Bruce and an accomplice supplied heroin through a middle man who is estimated to have handled heroin worth about £2,000 in summer 2009.
A court heard that he and a partner had exploited a “mentally and physically vulnerable” man by “coercing” him into selling the drugs on their behalf.
Mr Bruce was jailed for 28 months for supplying the Class A substance from addresses in Banff and Cullen.
He also served an 18-month sentence in 2006 for dealing drugs.
And he was placed on probation for a year in 2000 – when he was 22 – after admitting “jumping on” a rival’s head.
He was also ordered to pay his victim £500 in compensation and perform 200 hours of unpaid work.
The blaze at his ground floor flat was discovered around 2am on Saturday and firefighters from Buckie and Cullen took 40 minutes to put it out.
Investigators spent much of the weekend examining the scene to try to establish the cause of the blaze.
Buckie councillor Gordon McDonald said it could have had far more serious consequences.
He added: “The main concern is that the fire was started deliberately, and that is a worry for everyone.
“Something like that can easily get out of control and inflict loss of life as well as damage.
“I hope the police will very quickly apprehend the perpetrator.”
Sergeant Stephen Carmichael said: “Following a joint investigation involving police officers and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, we are treating this as a suspicious incident.
“I would appeal for anyone who was in the area at the time in question and saw anything to contact police as a matter of urgency.”
Police have urged anyone with information to contact them on 101, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.