An inquiry into a fatal fire at a luxury resort on the banks of Loch Lomond has urged the Scottish Government to consider making sprinkler systems mandatory in historical buildings used for hotels. 

Two men, Simon Midgley, 32, and his partner Richard Dyson, 38, died  after a blaze took hold in Cameron House near Balloch in December 2017. 


A fatal accident inquiry (FAI), which was held last year, has found that a "number of defects in the system of working" at the five-star hotel contributed to the fatal accident. 

The FAI considered issues around the safety of guests and building fire safety. 

Hotel operator Cameron House Resort (Loch Lomond) Ltd was previously fined £500,000 and night porter Christopher O’Malley was given a community payback order over the fire.

READ MORE: Woman crawled under thick black smoke to escape Cameron House blaze, inquiry hears

Sheriff Thomas McCartney has made a series of recommendations including advice to the Scottish Government to ensure active fire suppression systems when historic buildings are converted for hotel use. 

The blaze itself broke out after the night porter emptied ash and embers from a fuel fire into a polythene bag and placed it in a cupboard which stored combustible material.

The findings of the inquiry confirmed that the immediate cause of the accident was the hot ash placed within the cupboard. 

However, Sheriff McCartney confirmed other defects "in systems of working" also contributed. 

He said: "Precautions which could reasonably have been taken which might realistically have resulted in the deaths or the accident resulting in the deaths being avoided have been identified.

"There were a number of defects in systems of working which contributed to the accident resulting in the deaths and also a number of other facts which are relevant to the circumstances of the deaths."

The findings also recommend that hotels and other sleeping accommodations have "robust procedures" in place to ensure that ash is disposed of in a safe manner as well as having clear arrangements for the evacuation of their premises. 

READ MORE: Cameron House bosses were warned about storing ashes in cupboards, inquiry told

It emphasises that the arrangements should allow staff to "promptly" ensure all guests are accounted for and to "address foreseeable contingencies such as difficulties in accessing guest lists, or inclement weather".

All staff and in particular night shift staff should have experience of evacuation drills, it further recommends. 

This should also include night-time staff attending a day-time evacuation drill simulating "night-shift" hours. 

Additional advice to the Scottish Government suggests the formation of an expert group to "more fully explore the special risks which existing hotels and similar premises may pose through the presence of hidden cavities or voids, varying standards of workmanship, age, and the variance from current standards". 

The publication of the findings follows another fatal fire in a hotel at the start of the year. 

The alarm was raised at about 5.10am on January 2 after a blaze at the New County Hotel in Perth. 

Two sisters from Aberdeen, Donna Janse Van Rensburg, 44, and Sharon McLean, 47, as well as a "loving father" from Edinburgh, Keith Russell, 38, have been named as the victims of the recent fire. 

In the Cameron House inquiry findings, Sheriff McCartney also advised that the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service reduce the time between a fire safety audit inspection and the issuing of the outcome report. 

The Crown Office had initially stated that an FAI was not needed as the circumstances of the deaths had been established. 

However, an independent review overturned the decision and the inquiry began at Paisley Sheriff Court in August 2022. 


Debbie Carroll, who leads on health and safety investigations for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), called the recommendations made in the findings "important". 

She said: "We welcome the sheriff’s determination. 

“We acknowledge the deep and ongoing grief that the deaths of Simon Midgley and Richard Dyson have brought and understand that the wait for these proceedings to conclude has been extremely difficult and distressing for the families. 

“From the outset the Crown‎ has been committed to ensuring the facts and circumstances surrounding these deaths were thoroughly investigated by the relevant agencies, fully considered by specialist prosecutors, and aired in court, and now at a Fatal Accident Inquiry, 

“The sheriff’s determination made important recommendations in relation to fire suppression systems for historic buildings and the need for improved guidance to raise awareness on fire safety and risk assessment 

“The procurator fiscal service will continue to keep in contact with the families and answer any questions they may have about the determination.”