The owners of the Cameron House hotel in Loch Lomond have been fined £500,000 after they were found to have breached fire safety regulations resulting in the deaths of two guests during a blaze in 2017.
Christopher O’Malley, the hotel’s night porter, was also sentenced to 300 hours of unpaid work as part of a community payback order at Dumbarton Sheriff Court on Friday 29 January.
The blaze, which claimed the lives of Richard Dyson, 38, and his partner Simon Midgley, 32 occured on 22 December 2017. The fire destroyed the main building, which dated back to the 18th Century, and resulted in a massive rescue operation.
It is believed that the fire started after O’Malley placed a plastic bag of ash into a storage cupboard containing newspaper.
Dumbarton Sheriff Court was told that staff were not trained in the safe disposal of ash, despite fire and risk assessments in 2016 and 2017 highlighting that there was no written policy in place.
With procedures still not implemented at the time of the incident, the investigation found that the company had failed to ensure the safety of its guests by taking the necessary fire safety measures.
Alistair Duncan, head of the health and safety investigation unit, claimed the failings on the part of Cameron House Resort and Christopher O’Malley led to the deaths of Simon Midgley and Richard Dyson.
Duncan reiterated that the tragic losses have had a “devastating impact” on families and friends, and said that this incident should “serve as a reminder” to other companies that failure to implement the necessary fire safety measures can have “terrible consequences”.
Cameron House pleaded guilty to two charges of failing to take fire safety measures which were essential in ensuring staff and customer wellbeing.
Detective Inspector Stuart Grainger from Police Scotland said: “This has been a lengthy and difficult investigation for everyone involved.
“We’d once again like to offer our sincere condolences to the families and friends of Simon Midgley and Richard Dyson, who tragically lost their lives on Monday, 18 December 2017.”
He added: “While nothing will ever diminish the pain of their loss, we hope that the conclusion of this case brings at least a small measure of comfort.”