A former firefighter has described how he and a colleague inched their way through a blazing building trying to find a dad trapped inside.
Father-of-five Gordon Graham died in the flat fire in Fraserburgh on May 3, 1998.
Barry Henderson, 42, is currently on trial at the High Court in Glasgow accused of murdering him and attempting to murder his wife Anne by setting fire to the flat.
Yesterday, George Basterfield – who was a retained firefighter at the time – told the court about what the crew discovered when they arrived.
He said they were ordered to put on breathing apparatus and climb on ladders up to one of the second floor flat windows, where the glass had already been blown out by the ferocity of the fire.
Mr Basterfield said: “We searched. We could barely see two or three feet in front of us. It was heavily smoke-filled. We were basically going by feel. We came out of that room and into another room.”
He told the court that they found Mr Graham’s body in the last room they searched.
Earlier James Henderson, 73, the former station officer at Fraserburgh Fire Station, said firefighters trained hoses on the building to try to damp down the fire, while others tried to get into the building.
Initially, the firefighters tried to get into the building using the stairs – but were beaten back by the the heat.
He said: “Two firefighters tried to get up the common stairway and were unable to do this because of the intensity of the blaze and falling debris.
“They managed to get in through the second floor window.”
The building was extensively damaged, with the crews from Aberdeen, Peterhead and Maud called in to help.
Henderson is also accused of assaulting a woman in a nightclub in Fraserburgh, by kicking her on the leg and attempting to punch her, and of committing a breach of the peace at a nearby car park on May 3, 1998.
He also faces another charge that he behaved in a threatening manner on a bus between Crimond and Fraserburgh last November. He denies all the charges against him and has lodged special defences of alibi and incrimination.
The trial, before Lord Ericht, continues.