Testimony continues for man accused of setting fire that killed Toledo firefighters

Testimony continues for man accused of setting fire that killed Toledo firefighters
(Firefighters Stephen Machinski and Jamie Dickman)
(Firefighters Stephen Machinski and Jamie Dickman)

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Day two of testimony in the trial of Ray Abou Arab, who is being charged with the murders of firefighters Jamie Dickman and Stephen Machinski, continued Tuesday morning.

The jury heard from all of the firefighters who responded to the fire at the Magnolia Apartment building on how the scene went from dangerous to deadly.

It was difficult for the firefighters to hold back their emotions as they recounted that day minute by minute, even causing some members of the jury to shed tears.

Dickman's widow, mother, and sister along with Machinski's sister and father, were also in the courtroom listening on to every detail and at times were seen crying during the testimony too.

Toledo Fire Lt. Rob Swartz took the stand to recall what he remembered from the fire that happened back in Jan. 2014.

He said he was at the top of the ladder outside the second story window that Private Machinski and Dickman climbed into.

Swartz along with the other firefighters testified that when crews arrived and were preparing to enter the apartment building, the smoke was grey and the heat felt typical, even during the time the two deceased firefighters and Lt. Simko first entered the building.

However within a matter of minutes the conditions changed. Black smoke began pouring out of the window and the heat became hotter than anything any of them had ever felt in their career.

"When I seen the color change I yelled for them to get out through the window and I shined my flashlight in there and I'm yelling for them to come towards my light because I'm sure they can't see and at that point it kind of all went downhill," Lt. Swartz said.

The defense questioned Lt. Swartz about where he saw  the fire damage when they arrived and when he raised the garage door. Lt. Swartz testified he only saw flames in the garage near the ceiling and nothing else in the garage was damaged.

Private Stanley Woody remembered bringing his men out of the fire. The first one out was Lt. Simko.

"The look on his face and the thing that he said was 'I have two firefighters in there, it was shocking disbelief.  I mean I was a rookie, I still  hadn't experienced anything like this, didn't think I would experience anything like this in my career," said Woody.

Private Woody also said it was difficult carrying Dickman out of the fire and to grab a hold of Dickman because his clothing would crumble in his hands due to it being so charred and burnt.

"We initiated CPR. We tried to resuscitate him," said another firefighter who could not fight back his tears as he testified.

During the trial, one of the jurors was excused from duty Tuesday morning after she continuously fell asleep during testimony and throughout the week due to being ill.

There are still three other alternates seated on the jury.

Follow WTOL:  

Download our app here

Copyright 2017 WTOL. All rights reserved.