FIREFIGHTERS raised concerns about the fire risk at a derelict building the evening before a man died during a blaze there, a court heard. Croydon firefighters were called to a small fire at the former Sea Cadets building in Davenant Road the evening before the death of Sylvester Menzelevski, and immediately flagged the building as a danger, Croydon Crown Court head this week. Two teenagers are standing trial on manslaughter and arson charges following the blaze and discovery of the 35-year-old's body at about 3pm on June 10 last year. Giving evidence on Friday, London Fire Brigade investigator Mark Ross said the "local fire station" had been called to some rubbish alight behind the building at about 7pm on June 9, which the watch manager concluded had been deliberately set alight. He said the watch manager had also seen a pile of tires inside the dilapidated building and was worried about someone returning and setting fire to them. Mr Ross added: "If ignited they are going to cause a significant fire with a lot of smoke and potentially a lot of damage. "It was also was a hazard for firefighters: a dangerous, derelict building full of unknowns. "So from a fire safety point of view he wants to prevent that happening, so when he returned to the station he did in fact put in a report to the station manager with his concerns." Asked by defence lawyer Miranda Moore QC whether Mr Moss deemed the building "an accident waiting to happen" he replied "Absolutely," before saying "not an accident" and accepting "incident" as a better description. She added: "It was a problem that needed dealing with?" "Definitely," he replied. Mr Ross said he thought the fire after which Mr Menzelevski was found dead had started with the tire stack and its most likely cause was the "deliberate application of a naked flame." Asked whether he had been made aware that firefighters had met people living in the derelict house the evening before, he said he had not. Jurors had earlier been read written evidence from firefighters who attended the fire and found Mr Menzelevski's body. Mr Moss added: "[There is] no doubt the fire was burning when he collapsed because he collapsed on top of soot deposition." The accused teenagers cannot be named due to their age. Both deny the charges. The trial continues.
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