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Residents Who Escaped Burning Condo Testify In Arson Trial

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Ben Gilmore looks back into the seats of th e court room on the first day of his trial Thursday Aug. 9, 2012,  who is charged with arson and attempted murder in the Penny Flats fire on October of 2011. (credit: CBS)

Ben Gilmore looks back into the seats of th e court room on the first day of his trial Thursday Aug. 9, 2012, who is charged with arson and attempted murder in the Penny Flats fire on October of 2011. (credit: CBS)

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4)- The man accused of setting a massive condominium fire in Fort Collins spent Friday in court hearing from people who escaped the flames.

Benjamin Gilmore is charged with arson and attempted murder. He is accused of intentionally setting fire to the Mason Flats and Penny Flats buildings in October 2011 in Fort Collins, causing $10 million in damages.

The prosecution called multiple witnesses to the stand on Friday. The majority of those lived in the building that was set ablaze. They described to the jury the chaotic scene the morning of the fire.

A couple of witnesses said they heard some loud popping noises in the early morning and when they looked outside to investigate, they saw nothing but flames coming from the adjacent Mason Flats building that was under construction at the time.

One witness described seeing her blinds melt because of the intense heat before her windows cracked and shattered.

A Fort Collins police officer also took the stand and described how he entered the building to make sure everyone had escaped unharmed.

Prosecutors believe Gilmore’s association with the Occupy movement may have been his motivation for starting that fire.

Many witnesses said it was too chaotic to be certain whether they saw Gilmore the morning of the fire.

The trial is expected to continue for another two weeks.

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