Page last updated at 17:15 GMT, Thursday, 29 April 2010 18:15 UK

Rosepark Care Home owner faces questions about fire

Rosepark care home and flowers outside
The fire at Rosepark Care Home killed 14 elderly people

The owner of the Rosepark Care Home, Thomas Balmer, has given evidence to a Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI).

He said he was "disappointed in himself" but also "let down" by a team of electricians.

The inquiry is investigating a fire which led to the deaths of 14 elderly residents at the property in 2004.

A legal case charging Mr Balmer with alleged safety breaches collapsed in 2007 and charges under a fresh indictment in 2008 were also dropped.

Mr Balmer had hired the Star Electric company to install a number of fire safety measures, including fire dampeners, in the home's ventilation system.

I should have been more observant and less trusting of the contractors who came highly recommended
Thomas Balmer
Rosepark Care Home owner

The FAI had previously heard how the dampeners were found to be missing in the aftermath of the tragedy.

The dampeners could potentially have slowed the spread of fire throughout the building in Uddingston, Lanarkshire.

Mr Balmer said he believed he had the "aptitude" and "ability" to act as the overseer of the work but told the inquiry that "with hindsight" he did not have the expertise to carry out checks on electrical work.

He added: "I accept the ultimate responsibility should probably come to me.

"I should have been more observant and less trusting of the contractors who came highly recommended."

The inquiry, which is expected to last until the summer, will attempt to establish the full details of the fire and whether any precautions could have been taken to avoid the deaths.

While recommendations will be made to avoid similar tragedies in the future they will not be legally binding.



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