Philpott fire: Thick smoke would have had no chance to escape bedroom where youngsters were asleep
THE room where the Philpott children were sleeping would have been filled with "thick smoke", the court heard.
Fire service manager Mat Lee said an examination of the outside of the property found a hole smashed in a window at the house to be "small" and that this meant it would have been difficult for smoke to escape.
Mr Lee said after the fire began, smoke, heat and hot gases poured into the rooms of the house as they "chased oxygen".
Firefighters managed to rescue all six children from the house – but were unable to save their lives.
Mr Lee said that there had been no way into the front of the house due to the intensity of the fire, including via a window to the left of the front door. The window was open at the time of Mr Lee's investigation.
Mr Anthony Orchard QC, defending Philpott, said: "What you're saying is the window was opened sufficiently enough for the fire to cause smoke damage on the outside, is that right?"
"Yes," replied Mr Lee.
"But you can't say when it was opened?" asked Mr Orchard. "No," said Mr Lee. Mr Lee and his team also focused their investigation around the front door.
He said it was apparent that the fire had started inside the property, close to the front door.
He said a fire investigation dog had detected petrol within 50cm of the front door, on the inside of the property.
He said no petrol, or ignitable liquid, had been found on the outside of the property.
Mr Orchard asked Mr Lee: "Do you agree that it's not possible to determine the presence or distribution of petrol on the inside or outside of the front door, since it was destroyed by the fire?"
Mr Lee said: "We had good evidence of petrol on the carpet floor, inside of the door. The fire dog detected it and analysis identified it as petrol."
He added: "I would expect to find petrol on the concrete step (if it had been spilt there)."
Mr Orchard said: "You're not able to say one way or another whether petrol was deposited through the letter box, are you?"
"No," replied Mr Lee.
However, he added: "If petrol had been poured through the letter box, I would have expected to have found it on the concrete step."
Mr Lee also described the noise the fire would have made.
He said it would have sounded like a "bonfire" or "large fire in a chimney".
He said: "I would expect it to make a well-stoked chimney fire noise and some roaring as it spreads up the staircase.
"I would have expected it to hear a whooshing noise on the ignition of the petrol vapour or gas."
The court also heard from fingerprint expert Andrew Price, who examined a window frame removed from the front-left side of the house by a crime scene investigator.
He identified two fingerprints on the plastic that belonged to Mairead Philpott, from her right hand.
Prosecutor Richard Latham QC asked him: "The marks are consistent with being left by Mairead Philpott doing what?"
"Either leaning through the window or climbing through it," said Mr Price.
Mr Price said it was not possible to determine how old the fingerprint was.
The court also heard from crime scene investigator Alice Stewart.
Ms Stewart said that she removed a number of items from the scene for examination, including debris from around the front door.
She said she also recovered a wooden tennis racket from the roof of the conservatory, which she said had a "broken head".
The court had previously heard Mick Philpott had tried to break a window with a tennis racket and a monkey wrench.
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