Page last updated at 12:57 GMT, Thursday, 20 August 2009 13:57 UK

Rosepark fire hearing under way

Rosepark nursing home
The nursing home where the elderly residents died

The first part of an official inquiry into a nursing home fire in which 14 residents died has taken place.

The events surrounding the deaths at Rosepark care home in Uddingston in 2004 are to be probed at a fatal accident inquiry in November.

A preliminary hearing at Hamilton Sheriff Court was told that the inquiry could last up to six months.

The hearing also heard that a total of 371 potential witnesses have been identified.

The FAI was announced after three failed attempts to prosecute the former owners of the care home.

Around 10 family members of the elderly victims attended the preliminary hearing.

The relatives have chosen not to be represented at the inquiry which is due to start on 16 November at the Gospel Literature Outreach Centre in Motherwell.

Rosepark nursing home
The Rosepark Care Home firm was dissolved after the fire

Care home owners Thomas, Anne and Alan Balmer will be represented along with Strathclyde Fire Brigade, Lanarkshire Health Board and the Care Commission.

Evidence will be led by Crown Counsel James Wolffe QC, who said that the three months set aside for the inquiry maybe an "underestimation" and it could potentially last up to six months.

Four residents were also injured when the blaze broke out in a cupboard at the home on 31 January 2004.

In May, a judge threw out a prosecution against the Balmers saying they could not be held responsible, as the Rosepark Care Home firm they ran had been dissolved.

A further preliminary hearing will be held at the court on October 8 to discuss the procedural arrangements for the inquiry.

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