Page last updated at 07:12 GMT, Tuesday, 28 April 2009 08:12 UK

Fire chief must quit says family

By Bobby Friedman
Spotlight Reporter

Joe McCloskey
Joe McCloskey was killed fighting a hotel fire

The family of firefighter Joe McCloskey, who died in a blaze at the Gorteen Hotel in Limavady on Halloween night 2003, has called for the resignation of Northern Ireland's chief fire officer Colin Lammey.

Speaking exclusively to the BBC's Spotlight programme, Mr McCloskey's son, Sean, said the fire service had "failed the memory" of his father by not conducting a sufficiently thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death.

Mr McCloskey, 50, from Dungiven, died in a storeroom at the hotel, after the roof he was working on collapsed, dropping him into the flames below. He suffered first degree burns to 95% of his body.

"We think it is a huge failure of the chief, Colin Lammey, that a man lost his life and they did not see fit to investigate what led to this tragic incident," Sean McCloskey told BBC NI's Spotlight.

"They failed my father's memory and they will fail other firemen if they fail to do so in future and for that reason I would call for resignation".

The Northern Ireland Fire Service did conduct an investigation after the death of Mr McCloskey, a father of five, who had 25 years' experience as a firefighter.

Gorteen Hotel
The fire was at the Gorteen House Hotel, Limavady

However, it failed to establish who gave the order to Mr McCloskey to go onto the roof and nobody was ever disciplined.

Joe's widow, Marie, is unhappy that her family are still searching for the truth five years after her husband died.

"It is sad to think that Joe gave 25 years of his life to the Fire Brigade [but] why didn't they think it important enough to do an investigation into why Joe was still on the roof?" she asked.

"Who ordered him into the roof? But they don't seem to think that is important"."

In a statement, Chief Fire Officer Colin Lammey said: "We will never forget the events of 1 November 2003.

"We have never flinched from looking at every aspect of what happened that tragic night and there were undoubtedly lessons to be learned.

"We have worked tirelessly to fully implement every one of the recommendations from the Health & Safety Executive's investigation into the incident and also from our own thorough internal investigation, so that a tragedy like this never happens again."

Spotlight is on BBC 1 Northern Ireland at 10.35pm on Tuesday 28 April

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