Page last updated at 23:22 GMT, Tuesday, 1 July 2008 00:22 UK

Inquiry 'unnecessary and insensitive'

Linda kKnnon
Linda Kinnon was pulled alive from the factory wreckage

One of the last survivors pulled from the Stockline factory rubble has said she does not believe a public inquiry into the tragedy is necessary.

Linda Kinnon, 55, was buried for nine hours when the plastics factory in the Maryhill area of Glasgow collapsed after an explosion in May 2004.

She questioned the need for the hearing given that the factory owners admitted liability in a court case last year.

Mrs Kinnon also said holding the inquiry so close to the disaster site was "insensitive."

Nine people died and 33 were hurt in the blast, which was caused by liquefied petroleum gas escaping from old pipework in the four-storey building.

The public inquiry, set up jointly by the Scottish and UK Governments, is due to begin later on Wednesday at Maryhill Community Centre - where family and friends of the victims were comforted at the time.

The flashbacks and bad dreams, nightmares and everything, will start all over again
Linda Kinnon
Blast survivor

Factory owners ICL Plastics and ICL Tech were fined a total of 400,000 for health and safety breaches last year.

Mrs Kinnon from Erskine, Renfrewshire, faces a further two years of surgery after her ordeal.

She had comforted dying colleagues trapped alongside her while rescuers fought to reach her.

She told BBC Scotland she was concerned intensive media coverage of the inquiry would further delay the healing process for those involved, and make it harder for survivors to move on with their lives.

Mrs Kinnon said: "I just don't know what people will get from this, going back through the whole accident, the trauma and everything again. It has all come out at the court case and the company admitted liability so I don't know what kind of closure you will get from this.

"The newspapers, television and radio will all be full of the inquiry again and we will go back through seeing all the same pictures of the day the disaster happened.

"The flashbacks and bad dreams, nightmares and everything, will start all over again.

"I think it will be re-triggered but I am just hoping that when the inquiry is over and the decision is heard in October that I will be able to draw a line under it again and move on."

stockline disaster scene
Nine people died and a further 33 were hurt in the blast

Several survivors and relatives of victims have criticised the decision to hold the inquiry in the community centre, which has been specially adapted for the hearing.

"I think it is a bit insensitive to have the inquiry right next to the site where the accident happened - I am sure some other location could have been found for it," Mrs Kinnon said.

"I just think it is a disgrace to put people through that after everything we have been through in the past four years. They should have reconsidered when people did object and relocated it."

But Mrs Kinnon said that if there had to be an inquiry, it was important lessons were learned to help prevent a similar disaster happening in the future.

"Hopefully everyone will learn lessons from this and the law will be changed - that is all I have ever wanted, so that no one else will suffer as the people involved have suffered," she added.

The joint inquiry will be the first of its kind held in mainland Britain under legislation introduced in 2005.

It will firstly consider the "factual narrative" which led to the tragedy before a second stage, due to begin in October, will consider recommendations.

This inquiry extends the scope of a fatal accident inquiry. More people will be able to participate in it
Ian Buist Carmichael

Advocate Ian Buist Carmichael, a leading authority on public inquiries, said the hearing was necessary as it would have a wider scope than a standard fatal accident inquiry.

Mr Carmichael added: "The main reason for holding this inquiry is that it will probably bring out the same as a fatal accident inquiry but it enables the injured parties, the survivors, and the general public to join in.

"The one thing that does come out of this business is should a factory of this kind be situated in a residential area?

"It is not only the health and safety of people inside the factory, what would have happened if some soul on the pavement had a bit of stone from the building land on his head?

"This inquiry extends the scope of a fatal accident inquiry. More people will be able to participate in it - survivors and local residents if they want to because the explosion could have been a lot worse and affected residential property."

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