One of the four British tourists who started a huge blaze at a hotel in Magaluf in a drunken prank is no stranger to setting things on fire.
Brandon McCahill was filmed making a DIY flamethrower with a cigarette lighter and an aerosol can – the same gear used to set the BH Mallorca Hotel ablaze.
The 21-year-old was arrested along with James Brown, 21; Lauren Smith, 19; and Georgia James, also 19, after Sunday’s fire that caused £125,000 damage.
Brandon McCahill was filmed making a DIY flamethrower with a cigarette lighter and an aerosol can – the same gear he and three other used to set fire to a Magaluf hotel room
The Spanish island’s Civil Guard said they were messing with a sleeping friend by burning his feet with a cigarette lighter and aerosol can.
McCahill was filmed using the same items after a night out in Britain in 2016, appearing chuffed at the huge column of flame he produced.
‘Brandon is the joker of our group and likes to muck about. He likes a laugh, but I didn’t think he’d go that far,’ a friend told The Sun.
‘He was out there with a few others on a lad’s holiday. They were supposed to fly back on the night he was in court.’
McCahill faced court in Palma for setting fire to a hotel in Magaluf wearing the same clothes as when he arrested, where he and the others were released on bail
The friends said Brown posted on Facebook saying they didn’t do it, but the boys were otherwise keeping a low profile.
The holidaymakers were released from court on Tuesday pending charges over the fire, but couldn’t leave the island until they stumped up £26,300 between them.
Police will hang on to their passports until then, after a hearing in front of a judge in Majorcan capital of Palma.
The group claimed they didn’t start the fire and were on the balcony smoking, chatting and drinking when the room began to burn.
Local media said they told the court they only found out the room was on fire when they heard a woman screaming.
Court officials who confirmed the release on bail of the four holidaymakers were unable to comment on the detail of the tourists’ responses to the judge’s questions.
Lauren Smith, 19; and Georgia James, 19, were ushered into the courtroom first on Tuesday and were allowed to leave the island for the group of four stumped up £26,300 between them
James Brown, 21, (pictured) and the others started the fire by messing with a sleeping friend by burning his feet with a cigarette lighter and aerosol can in a drunken prank
The criminal probe will now continue before a decision is taken on whether the Brits should face charges.
They were handcuffed as they arrived in court and thought to be wearing the same clothes as when they were arrested, with McCahill’s shirt printed with ‘dope drugs’ on the front.
None of the firebugs have been charged with a crime as in Spain this is only done just before the trial, which could be months away.
McCahill’s father Lee said his son was lucky no one died in the fire and he was released on bail without facing serious charges.
‘I reckon he’s probably sitting there laughing and joking about it with his mates. They’re lucky they’re not facing prison for killing someone,’ he told The Sun.
Brandon McCahill (right) and James Brown were named as two of the British tourists involved
Footage from the scene shows smoke billowing out of the front door of the affected apartment
Mr McCahill said the fire looked bad from the video and he was glad no one was hurt, and that his son should be able to look after himself now he was an adult.
‘He’s just been a lad. It’s something that’s got out of hand. I don’t think anyone is stupid enough to do it on purpose. It’s too much drink, having fun and playing stupid games spiralling our of control really,’ he said.
Two rooms were totally destroyed in the blaze and the operation to put the fire out lasted for about an hour.
McCahill is a keen amateur footballer from Consett, County Durham, now thought to be living in Newcastle.
The left-footer is the star of several YouTube videos where he can be seen showing off his skills on an indoor five-a-side pitch as well as outside on a full-size pitch.
He describes himself on social media as single and admits to being a fan of LADbible.
One of his recent Facebook posts, titled ‘Ahhh living the life’ shows a man lying face-down on the floor with his bare bottom exposed and his trousers round his ankles.
Flames can be seen licking up the side of the building and reaching as high as the veranda above
The BH Hotel Mallorca is a popular choice with British holidaymakers and is rumoured to have sustained around £125,000 worth of damage
James Brown, known to friends as Jay, is also believed to be from the same town in County Durham as McCahill.
Footage from the scene showed terrified Brits running for their lives as thick black smoke and flames engulfed one of the apartments.
Holidaymakers could be heard screaming to others ‘Get out’ over the sound of breaking glass.
No one was badly hurt in the drama, although several people including three Civil Guard officers had to be treated for smoke inhalation.
Firefighters, who used extendable ladders to bring several holidaymakers to safety, have been praised for their speedy actions.
A spokesman for the Civil Guard, in a statement confirming the arrests of the four Brits, said: ‘Firefighters, local police and Civil Guard were mobilised on Sunday evening.
‘Once they reached the hotel they saw flames leaping from one of the rooms via the balcony and saw the blaze was affecting other parts of the complex.
‘Realising the lives of people staying at the hotel were in real danger, more than 100 guests in the block affected by the fire were evacuated.’