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Last Updated: Saturday, 31 January, 2004, 22:24 GMT
Inquiry into nursing home deaths
The scene of the fire
Fire and police investigators are carrying out inquiries
Investigations are under way into a nursing home fire near Glasgow which claimed the lives of 10 people.

The blaze at the Rosepark Care Home in Uddingston is said to have started in a store cupboard on the upper floor and the elderly victims succumbed to smoke.

As well as the 10 dead, seven people were being treated in hospital, three of them in a critical condition.

The Queen, First Minister Jack McConnell and local MP John Reid all sent their sympathies to families.

Our conclusions will have useful lessons for the whole of the UK
Jeff Ord
Strathclyde firemaster

Prime Minister Tony Blair said the thoughts of the entire UK would be with the Uddingston community.

"My heart goes out to those families who have lost loved ones and residents who have been injured," he said.

"I would also pay tribute to the work of our emergency services who fight hard to limit the loss of life."

A further 23 residents of the privately-run home were unhurt and moved to other homes nearby.

The fire broke out just before 0440 GMT on Saturday and a female member of staff raised the alarm. The emergency services were on the scene within five minutes.

Chief Superintendent Tom Buchan said: "Regrettably, a large number of people probably had a feeling of security, had left their doors open - so the smoke was able to enter their bedrooms and many of them were asleep."

Strathclyde firemaster Jeff Ord said the fire was not extensive, with the damage spreading only three or four metres either side of the cupboard.

Staff 'devastated'

"It is a tragedy on an enormous scale for the families, for the community, and for the people who attended it," he said.

Looking ahead to the investigation, Mr Ord said: "Our conclusions will have useful lessons for the whole of the UK."

We would want to satisfy ourselves that everything was done within the home to adhere to the national standards that we set
Tom McCabe
Deputy health minister
Liz Duncan, from Help the Aged, said there had to be a full inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the fire.

"There are legal implications all the way down the line, not just because of the deaths but also for what will happen in the future as well," she said.

"There may be some lessons to be learned, it may have been a tragedy that could not have been prevented but we simply don't know.

"The forensic people from the fire brigade will be all over this building, the police will have to look at it, the procurator fiscal I'm sure will make a decision as to what the case is, if there is a case to be answered."

The Scottish Executive has pledged to do all it can to determine the cause of the tragedy and understand what can be learned.

Deputy Health Minister Tom McCabe has responsibility for the Care Commission, which regulates all care homes in Scotland.

Rosepark Care Home
The bodies were being moved on Saturday evening
Mr McCabe said: "We would want to satisfy ourselves that everything was done within the home to adhere to the national standards that we set.

"All the information that we have at the moment is that that has been done and that it is a well run home."

At the modern red-brick home, the building looked undamaged apart from blackened and smashed upper floor windows.

In a statement its owners, Tom and Anne Balmer, said: "Everyone connected with the home is devastated by this morning's tragic loss of life."

The 43-bed facility in New Edinburgh Road had been inspected in February and November last year.

On Saturday evening the bodies of the dead were transferred from the home for post mortem examinations to be carried out.

Police said they were still in the process of informing the next of kin and that the names of the dead would not be released until that process was complete.

Relatives and friends of residents at Rosepark Nursing Home can contact a helpline on 01698 483 200.

The BBC's Andrew Cassell
"A place of care and refuge now a place of death and tragedy"

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31 Jan 04  |  Photo Gallery
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Queen sends message of support
31 Jan 04  |  Scotland
Care home owners 'devastated'
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Community left reeling after fire
31 Jan 04  |  Scotland
Nursing home fire claims 10 lives
31 Jan 04  |  Scotland

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