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Dudley library firestarter claimed blaze began in loo roll holder
2:30pm Thursday 31st October 2013 in Local
A MAN who started a £6,000 fire at Dudley Library claimed a toilet roll despenser had "just gone up in smoke."
The building in St James's Road was evacuated after the library manager saw smoke coming out of first floor toilets and sounded the alarm.
The library, which was busy at the time, was quickly evacuated and a member of staff saw Dean Challoner and quickly became suspicious because he smelled of smoke and had ash in his hair.
David Lees, prosecuting, told Wolverhampton Crown Court when the 23-year-old was asked if he had any knowledge of the fire he told the staff member a toilet roll dispenser had "simply gone up in smoke."
The fire brigade put out the blaze, which caused damage worth £6,000, and after his arrest Challoner told police officers: "I didn't mean to do it."
Judge Nicholas Webb told Challoner the fire could have had far more serious consequences adding: "It is clear lives were put at risk."
He said that at the time Challoner had a number of problems associated with his "seriously irresponsible conduct" and prior to the incident two other fires had been reported at his home.
A consultant psychiatrist said Challoner, of Vale Court, Cradley Heath, had problems controlling his impulsive behaviour and starting fires "helped him gain a positive regard from others."
Challenor pleaded guilty to arson and being reckless as to whether life was endangered.
The judge ruled Challoner, who had not been prosecuted for the two fires reported at his home, should be restricted and made him the subject of a hospital order.