Care home blaze deaths inquiry nears conclusion

AN INQUIRY into a fire at a nursing home that killed 14 residents has heard final submissions.

Witnesses, including victims' relatives and the Rosepark Care Home owners, were questioned during the inquiry, which began in Motherwell in November 2009.

The blaze at the care home in Uddingston, Lanarkshire, in January 2004 started in a cupboard and injured four other residents.

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The fatal accident inquiry was set up to try to establish the full circumstances of the fire and prevent a similar tragedy.

At Hamilton Sheriff Court yesterday, final submissions were heard from the representatives of those involved in the inquiry.

Gerard Coll, representing Lanarkshire Health Board, told the hearing that "robust" inspections had been carried out by the health board at the home and staff had been shown how the fire alarms worked and what they sounded like.

The inquiry was told that there was not enough evidence to suggest fire dampers, which trap smoke by closing vents in ducts, would have reduced the amount of smoke or toxic fumes present in corridor three at the home, where two people died.

Advocate depute James Wolffe, QC, told the hearing: "There is considerable uncertainty in the amount of smoke that passed through (from corridor four to corridor three by ducts]."

The court was told the amount passing through the ductwork was "probably not life-threatening".

The hearing heard from advocate Andrew Murphy that there was no "delegation in any way", written or verbal, of fire safety responsibility to the matron.

The families of those who died sat in the public gallery for the final hearing.

Sheriff Principal Brian Lockhart said the main purpose of a fatal accident inquiry was to ensure lessons were learnt for the future. He said: "My determination will be issued as soon as possible."