Ravenswood house torched by firebug

A FIREBUG was on bail for torching a car when he set fire to a Ravenswood home with the owner still in it.

Jamie Allan George, 24, who accidentally set fire to himself during the incident, appeared in the Launceston Supreme Court yesterday.

Five days before Christmas, George walked to nearby Rosetta Place with a container of fuel, which he poured into the home's open window.

He then ignited the petrol, which had splashed on to his arm.

The owner, asleep on the lounge, awoke to a "woosh" sound as flames quickly spread through the home, Crown Prosecutor Yoland Prenc said.

The victim attempted to put the fire out but had to flee as his house became fully engulfed, she said.

The fire gutted the property, which was valued at $200,000.

The uninsured contents were destroyed.

In the meantime George, who had self-ignited, ran home to treat his injuries and an ambulance was called.

Paramedics found him with significant burns and he was hospitalised for nearly a month.

On March 13 he walked to a vacant block at the back of Pioneer Parade which spread to a farm.

Twenty hectares of grazing land worth up to $3000 was destroyed by fire, the court heard.

George was arrested in Warring Street shortly after and told police he was being his "drunken self" when he lit the fire.

He said he didn't know why he lit the blazes, including the home, but said when he drank "goon" or cask wine it made him light fires.

"He does have particular weakness, an unusual weakness, when he drinks cask wine," defence counsel Alan Hensley said during sentencing submissions.

At the time of the house fire George was "falling down drunk", he said.

Despite never being formally diagnosed, George received disability payments for his limited intellectual capacity.

George was unaware the home was occupied and had made "extremely early" pleas of guilty.

George has also pleaded guilty to stealing a car and torching it at Pipers Brook last year, along with three co-accused.

Mr Hensley said he was very much following the others in this case.

Justice Robert Pearce adjourned the matter for sentence on June 11.

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