Today at Dumbarton Sheriff Court, guilty pleas were made by the Cameron House owners and a porter, following a fire in December 2017 which claimed two lives.
This has been a tragic case which has taken three years to conclude. The families of Simon Midgley and Richard Dyson – the two men who died in the fire – have been forced to repeatedly relive the horrors and heartbreak of the fatal night in order to fight for answers as to why their loved ones died.
Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton constituency, has repeatedly called for a quick and thorough investigation into the cause of the fire and has worked closely with Jane Midgley, the mother of Simon Midgley, in her campaign to be given answers as to why her son passed away. Jackie Baillie has raised the length of time taken to deal with the case directly with both the First Minister and the Crown Office.
The court heard of multiple failures in health and safety procedures and that the fire was started after a porter put a bag of ash and embers in a cupboard containing kindling and newspaper. Both the porter and Cameron House owners pled guilty to charges under the Fire Scotland Act of failing to take fire safety measures. Sentencing will take place on 29 January.
Jackie Baillie MSP said: “This is completely heart-breaking for all involved – not least for the families of Simon and Richard.
“After three long, painful years these families finally have the answers that they need as to why their beloved sons and brothers died in this fire.
“It is deeply concerning to learn that this fire could have been avoided, had the staff involved been given the proper training needed, and more importantly, had the hotel owners heeded the prior warnings given to them about their safety standards.
“The length of time that it has taken for this case to be concluded has caused the families involved undue stress and pain, during what is already an unimaginably difficult time for them.
“Going forward, steps must be taken by Cameron House to ensure that failings of this magnitude never happen again. We now know that these deaths were avoidable.
“My sympathies continue to be with families and loved ones of Simon and Richard. The conclusion of this case today has finally given them the answers that they need but will not remove the sense of loss or heartache.”