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Last Updated: Sunday, 1 February, 2004, 17:46 GMT
Tributes paid to care home dead
Floral tributes
Cards and flowers have been left at the scene
Families of the elderly victims of a nursing home fire have been paying tribute to their lost loved ones.

It comes as churches have dedicated prayers to those who were killed in the blaze at the Rosepark Care Home in Uddingston.

Investigators are trying to establish how smoke from a burning cupboard could have caused their deaths.

The death toll rose from 10 to 12 after two women being treated in hospital died on Sunday.

Four other women and one man remain in hospital.

Tragic loss

The scale of the tragedy is believed to be linked to the fact that many of the victims had been sleeping with their bedroom doors open.

John Carlin, who lost his older sister Mary McKenna in Saturday's fire, said from his home nearby: "She was my sister. I have just seen the body. I'm just too gutted for words."

John Lappin, from nearby Bellshill - whose 83-year-old mother Margaret died in the fire - spoke tearfully of his loss.

"I can't really think straight, because of the shock of the whole thing," he said.

"She had gone through a lot in her life."

As the full horror of yesterday became clear many of those faces that we have come to know so well flashed through our minds
Reverend Michael Lyall
Chaplain for Rosepark

Floral tributes and candles have been laid at the scene of the fire in remembrance of those who died.

The chaplain for Rosepark, who led a monthly Sunday service there, described those who died as "special, precious and irreplaceable".

Reverend Michael Lyall paid tribute to all the residents, families and staff at the nursing home during a service at Viewpark Parish Church.

He said: "As the full horror of yesterday became clear many of those faces that we have come to know so well flashed through our minds."

At the town's Saint Columba's Church, the Bishop of Motherwell Joseph Divine led about 150 men, women and children in a service.

Prayers were said for the victims of the fire and their families, for the conditions of elderly people still in hospital and for "distraught care staff".

Bishop Divine said many friends and family of the victims were in the congregation, including two sisters of a woman who died.

Rosepark Care Home
A fleet of hearses took the bodies away
The bodies of the fire victims were removed from the scene on Saturday night and taken to Glasgow City Mortuary for post mortem examinations to be carried out.

A police spokesman said that process would continue throughout Sunday, with formal identification taking place prior to each post mortem.

The full list of the deceased was not expected to be released until Monday.

First Minister Jack McConnell has ordered his health and fire services ministers, Malcolm Chisholm and Cathy Jamieson, to update his cabinet this week on any early findings from investigations into the blaze.

It is understood that one line of inquiry is the possibility it was started by an electrical fault.

The Scottish Executive is considering whether or not to approve a backbench bill which could require various multiple residency homes to install fire sprinklers.

Safety checks

A check on the home's safety equipment was carried out only two months ago and no faults were discovered.

And staff carried out an emergency drill at the 43-bed facility on New Edinburgh Road less than two weeks ago.

Jacqui Roberts, the chief executive of the care home regulator, the Scottish Care Commission, told BBC Radio Five Live: "We need to be very aware that elderly people in care homes are very frail and very vulnerable and not at all mobile."

The Queen, the first minister and local MP John Reid all sent their sympathies to families.

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

In a statement its owners, Tom and Anne Balmer, said everyone connected with the home was "devastated" by the "tragic loss of life".

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


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's John Morrison
"Evacuating frail, often infirm old people is a problem for all homes"



SEE ALSO:
Inquiry into nursing home deaths
31 Jan 04  |  Scotland
In Pictures: Nursing home fire
31 Jan 04  |  Photo Gallery
Tragedy strikes on winter's night
31 Jan 04  |  Scotland
Queen sends message of support
31 Jan 04  |  Scotland
Care home owners 'devastated'
31 Jan 04  |  Scotland
Nursing home fire claims 10 lives
31 Jan 04  |  Scotland


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