Man denies torching old WIN television building
A YOUNG man accused of purposely setting fire to the former WIN television building on Dean St is fighting the allegation.
Matthew Geiszler yesterday entered a not guilty plea to arson in the Rockhampton District Court.
Crown prosecutor Tiffany Lawrence said emergency services arrived at the fire scene at 192 Dean St at 10.36pm on June 17, 2016.
She said the fire "heavily damaged" the right side of the building.
"The crown's case is that the defendant (purposely lit) it," Ms Lawrence said.
She said investigators found his palm print inside the building and his footprints in soot, leading away from the scene.
The court was told fire crews swept the scene looking for people while carrying out extinguishing duties, having the main fire out by 10.53pm.
The first crown witness, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services' officer-in-charge of North Rockhampton Station, Peter Guley said he located another fire on the opposite side of the building in a corner room that did not require extinguishing.
He said he recalled seeing the flames of the fire through the "glass tiles" from Dean St.
Mr Guley said the other fire was a separate fire, determined by the lack of trails or connections to the main fire.
He said three fire trucks attended that fire.
Ms Lawrence said Queensland Police Service's Sergeant Allan Fleming arrived at the scene about the time the fire was extinguished, made some phones calls and declared the building a "crime scene".
She said QPS officers then guarded it until a forensics investigator could attend the next morning.
Ms Lawrence said it was this investigator who located the footprint in the soot which they determined was recent.
The jury is expected to hear evidence from the investigator that will explain how they determine how long it has been since the footprint was made.
Ms Lawrence said the investigator will also give evidence on how it was ruled to have been deliberately lit, including the fact there was no electricity supplied to the building, no lightning strikes in the region at the time and no evidence of spontaneous combustion.
She said Geiszler told police during his first interview less than a month after the fire that he had never been inside the abandoned WIN building.
Ms Lawrence said he changed his story twice more - first to having being in there four to seven days after the fire, and then to being in there up to two weeks prior.
She said one of his claims is that he was in there, looked into a few rooms, used a toilet and left after touching something that set off an alarm.
The trial continues.