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Fireman death trial to last three months

THE family of a fireman who died in a rescue attempt face a further wait for answers over his death, with a criminal court trial now expected to last three months.

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

Prosecutors brought charges after Mr 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 became trapped.

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

Mr Williamson worked for the former Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service before the new single 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 in the bar.

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".

Yesterday at the High Court in Glasgow, judge Lady Rae was told the trial was expected to last 12 weeks. No date has been set and the case has been continued until September in order to find a suitable court.

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