Cameron House, Fatal fire could have been avoided

Published: 1 Feb 2021

A hotel fire that claimed the lives of two men could have been avoided.  Following investigations it has been established that the fire started after a night porter put a bag of ash and embers into a cupboard which contained combustible materials.

The fire started after the night porter cleared ash and embers from a fireplace into a metal bucket at around 04:00.  He then emptied the contents into a plastic bag, which was then placed into a concierge cupboard which contained flammable materials, including kindling and newspapers.  It wasn’t until around 06:40 that an initial fire alarm sounded and staff noticed smoke coming from the cupboard.  Staff attempted to open the cupboard and tried to fight the blaze with fire extinguishers, but the cupboard was well alight and the blaze quickly spread to the hallway.

As part of the investigation, it was established that there was no written procedure in place for the safe disposal of ash, and that staff had not been properly trained.

The lack of a formal procedure for disposing of ash, lack of staff training and storage of combustibles in storage cupboard had been identified by two most recent fire risk assessments and a recent visit by Scottish Fire and Rescue Service but the hotel had failed to take action.  Sentencing takes place later this week.

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