A woman was seen walking like a zombie while holding a stick that was on fire and an aerosol can after a unit fire at Invermay, a jury has heard.
Two witnesses who lived behind the unit told a Launceston Supreme Court jury on Monday they saw Emily Jane Thompson in a pink hoodie walking towards a petrol station after the blaze.
The court heard the men watched Ms Thompson until she was picked up by police at the Charles Street bridge.
Ms Thompson has pleaded not guilty to torching her Housing Tasmania unit at New Street, Invermay, in April 2017.
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At the time of the fire, Jill Long's unit had an adjoining wall with Ms Thompson's property.
While giving evidence, Ms Long told the court she was about to eat takeaway with a friend in her unit when she heard a "hell of a rumble".
Ms Long said she went to check what was going on and she saw a "fireball" blocking the path between her unit and Ms Thompson's property. The court heard Ms Long was worried about her "friendly" neighbour, so she tried to look for her.
"I thought she was in there frying," Ms Long said.
A fire investigator told the court there was extensive damage to the unit, with a majority of the aluminium framework melting.
In the days before the fire neighbours saw Ms Thompson standing on her roof in a fancy dress painting, the jury was told.
Defence lawyer Lucy Flanagan told the court it was important to understand what was in her client's mind at the time of the fire.
After police arrested Ms Thompson, she was admitted to the Launceston General Hospital and then spent two weeks at Northside.
The court heard Ms Thompson was diagnosed with a drug-induced psychosis while at Northside.
During his opening address, crown prosecutor John Ransom told the jury it was possible they'd be presented with insanity as an alternative to the arson charge.
The trial before Justice Michael Brett will continue.