• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Fire service faces trial over death of firefighter in pub blaze

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service faces trial accused of a number of health and safety breaches following the death of a firefighter more than five years ago.

Yesterday at the High Court in Glasgow judge Lady Rae was told the the trial is expected to last 12 weeks.

No date has yet been set and the case has been continued until September in order to find a suitable court which can accommodate a three-month trial.

Prosecutors brought charges after firefighter Ewan Williamson died while tackling a basement blaze at the Balmoral Bar in Dalry Road, Edinburgh in July 2009.

About 20 people were rescued from the burning building, but the 35-year-old lost his life after he became trapped.

The service denies three charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

This includes a claim that there was a failure to prioritise Mr Williamson's rescue.

He worked for the former Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service before the new service was formed in April last year.

The first allegation claims the necessary "instruction and supervision" was not provided to employees.

This includes an accusation that there was a lack of appropriate training for firefighters in relation to tackling basement fires.

The second charge states the fire service failed to provide "a system of work" that was safe and without risks.

Prosecutors allege there was not an adequate response to Mr Williamson becoming trapped in a toilet on the ground floor at the Balmoral Bar.

The indictment goes on to detail there was a failure to appropriately "prioritise his rescue" and utilise the relevant equipment to save him.

It is further claimed there was not a proper response to a breathing apparatus emergency situation.

The charge also alleges there was a failure to have in place an effective communication system between firefighters.

The final and third accusation claims there was not a "suitable and sufficient risk assessment".

It includes an allegation of not identifying adequate control measures in conditions of "restricted visibility and extreme heat".

The case will call again at the High Court in Glasgow on September 9.

Contextual targeting label: 
Fire

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

250876