Last reviewed 8 February 2021

A Scottish luxury hotel has scrapped open fires after it was rebuilt following a fire that claimed the lives of two guests who died due to inhalation of smoke and fire gases.

During the prosecution of the hotel for breaches of fire safety rules, the defending barrister told the court that a new steel structure and “extensive fire-stopping works” have been added to the rebuilt hotel which hopes to reopen this summer.

The fire started when a night porter placed a plastic bag of ash in a cupboard containing kindling and newspapers.

Having said that he deeply regretted his actions, and did not deliberately start the fire, he admitted breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act and was given a community payback order to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work.

He had been told not to put ash into plastic bags because it was a fire hazard and the court was told that it was “extremely difficult to understand” why he did not follow this guidance on the night of the fire.

Cameron House had previously pleaded guilty to two charges under the Fire Scotland Act of failing to take fire safety measures which were necessary to ensure the safety of staff and guests.

Dumbarton Sheriff Court was told that the hotel did not have proper procedures in place for the disposal of ash, or for training staff. The owners also failed to keep cupboards that contained potential ignition sources free of combustibles.

It fined the hotel £500,000.

Scottish Fire and Rescue had warned the owners about newspapers, kindling and cardboard being stored in the cupboard during an audit in August 2017.

There was no safe system for emptying the ash bins outside the hotel and, the day before the fatal fire, the porter had discovered they were both full and had not been emptied since October 2017.

Alistair Duncan, head of the Health and Safety Investigation Unit, said: “This incident should serve as a reminder to other companies that failure to implement the necessary fire safety measures can have terrible consequences”.