Relatives hear evidence at nursing home blaze inquiry

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The Independent Online

Relatives of elderly residents who died in a fire at a care home have been giving evidence at a fatal accident inquiry into the tragedy.

A minute's silence was held at the start of the investigation into the blaze at the Rosepark Home in Uddingston, Lanarkshire.

As well as the 14 deaths, four residents were injured when the blaze broke out in a cupboard at the home on 31 January 2004.

Care home owners Thomas, Anne and Alan Balmer are represented, along with Strathclyde Fire Brigade, Lanarkshire Health Board and the Care Commission. Yesterday, at the Gospel Literature Outreach Centre in Motherwell, Janette Bulloch, whose 85-year-old mother Helen Crawford died in the blaze, said she had noticed fire drill instructions on the walls at the home but added that sometimes she noticed fire doors were open.

Robina Burns, 89, died at Glasgow Royal Infirmary two days after the fire. Her daughter, Agnes Crawford, 72, told the inquiry: "She was awakened by the sound of a bulb popping. When she did wake she could smell smoke. She said she opened the door and got a fright when she saw what was happening."

The inquiry, which will seek to establish where and when each of the victims died, the cause of their death and what caused the fire, is expected to last between four and six months, and continues today.