Cameron House bosses ‘were warned about storing ashes in cupboards’

Bosses at a hotel which would later go up in flames claiming the lives of two men were told by a fire inspector about the danger of storing combustible materials in certain cupboards.

Guests Simon Midgley, 32, and Richard Dyson, 38, died when a fire broke out at the five-star Cameron House hotel, near Balloch, on the banks of Loch Lomond on December 18 2017.

A Fatal Accident Inquiry heard that in August that year James Clark, of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, had highlighted some concerns to the hotel in a routine inspection.

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“Where the integrity of walls or ceilings has been breached to effect repair work or allow services to pass, they should be reinstalled or fire-stopped using materials which provide the original standard of fire resilience. Attention should be given to the concierge cupboard,” his report said.

Two guests died in the Cameron House Hotel fire, sparked by the remains of a log fire being dumped in a cupboard next to kindling
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It added: “Combustible storage should not be locked in the cupboard containing mains electrical installation apparatus.”

David McKerry, who was property manager at the time, accompanied Mr Clark on his inspection and told Crown counsel Graeme Jessop that he arranged for the voids to be filled “there and then” by a contractor who was already on site.

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Traig Paton, 46, who was general manager at the hotel, told the inquiry he was not aware kindling was stored in the cupboard, and said he understood it to contain just a fuse board and not a mains electrical installation.

Michael Wisekal, a fire investigator who was tasked by West Dunbartonshire Council to produce a report on the safe handling of ash, said a written procedure would have made sure everybody was following the same process.

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He told the inquiry of ways someone cleaning a fire could check if the ashes were hot, which included moving the ash around with a metal shovel in the fire or using an infrared thermometer.

Hotel operator Cameron House Resort (Loch Lomond) Ltd was previously fined £500,000 over the fire, and night porter Christopher O’Malley, who admitted breaching health and safety laws by placing ash in a plastic bag in the cupboard, was given a community payback order.

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The inquiry at Paisley Sheriff Court continues

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