Inquiry into fire which claimed lives of two men at luxury hotel begins

·2 min read

A fatal accident inquiry (FAI) into the deaths of two men in the fire at Cameron House in 2017 will commence on Monday.

The inquiry, held at Paisley Sheriff Court, will look at issues around guest and fire safety at the hotel on the banks of Loch Lomond following the fatal fire in December 2017.

The blaze at the five-star Cameron House Hotel claimed the lives of Simon Midgley, 32, and his partner Richard Dyson, 38, from London.

Hotel operator Cameron House Resort (Loch Lomond) Ltd was previously fined £500,000 and night porter Christopher O’Malley was given a community payback order over the fire.

The purpose of the inquiry, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service say, is not to “apportion blame” but to determine the cause of death and establish what lessons can be learned to minimise the risk of future deaths in similar circumstances.

Cameron House Hotel fire
Simon Midgley and Richard Dyson (Family handout)

Unlike a criminal trial, the FAI system is inquisitorial rather than adversarial, and is a fact-finding exercise.

The Sheriff hears all the evidence presented in court and listens to the witnesses before delivering their determination.

In the determination, the presiding Sheriff can make recommendations to the parties involved, including recommendations about precautions which can be taken in future, improvements that can be made, or systems that should be put in place to prevent future deaths.

A spokesperson for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, said: “COPFS understand that the wait for proceedings must have been extremely difficult and stressful for those affected.

“We will continue to keep the families of those involved fully informed and answer any questions they may have about the process during the FAI.”

Dumbarton Sheriff Court heard in January last year that the fire started after O’Malley emptied ash and embers from a fuel fire into a polythene bag and placed it in a cupboard which contained combustibles including kindling and newspapers.

Cameron House Resort (Loch Lomond) Ltd, owner and operator of the hotel, admitted failing to take the fire safety measures necessary to ensure the safety of employees and guests between January 14 2016 and December 18 2017.

The company admitted two charges of breaching the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005.

O’Malley admitted breaching sections of health and safety laws which relate to the obligation on an employee to take reasonable care for the health and safety of people affected by their acts or omissions at work.