Investigation begins into fire that claimed the lives of two men in a luxury hotel

A Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) into the deaths of two men in the 2017 Cameron House fire will begin on Monday.

The inquest, held at Paisley Sheriff Court, will focus on guest safety and fire issues at the hotel on the shores of Loch Lomond following the fatal fire in December 2017.

The fire at the five-star Cameron House hotel claimed the lives of Simon Midgley, 32, and his partner Richard Dyson, 38, from London.

Hotel operator Cameron House Resort (Loch Lomond) Ltd has already been fined £500,000 and night porter Christopher O’Malley has received a community reimbursement order for the fire.

The purpose of the inquest, according to the Crown Office and the Procurator Fiscal Service, is not to ‘allocate blame’ but to determine the cause of death and establish lessons to be learned to minimize the risk of future deaths under similar circumstances.

Simon Midgley and Richard Dyson (family document)

Unlike a criminal trial, the FAI system is inquisitorial rather than adversarial, and is a fact-finding exercise.

The sheriff hears all the evidence presented in court and listens to witnesses before making a decision.

In the determination, the presiding sheriff may make recommendations to the parties involved, including recommendations on precautions that can be taken in the future, improvements that can be made, or systems that should be put in place to prevent future death.

A spokesperson for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service said: ‘COPFS understands that waiting for the proceedings must have been extremely difficult and stressful for those involved.

“We will continue to keep the families of those involved fully informed and answer any questions they may have about the process during the FAI.”

Dumbarton Sheriff Court heard in January last year that the fire started after O’Malley dumped ashes and embers from a fuel fire into a polythene bag and placed it in a cupboard containing combustibles, including kindling and newspapers.

Cameron House Resort (Loch Lomond) Ltd, owner and operator of the hotel, has admitted failing to take the necessary fire safety measures to ensure the safety of employees and guests between January 14, 2016 and December 18, 2017.

The company admitted two counts of breaching the Fires (Scotland) Act 2005.

O’Malley admitted to breaching sections of the health and safety laws that relate to an employee’s duty to take reasonable precautions for the health and safety of those affected by their acts or omissions at work .

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