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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 February, 2004, 15:59 GMT
Fire safety checks for care homes
Rosepark nursing home
The investigation into the fatal fire is continuing
Every care home in Scotland will be checked to ensure that fire safety measures are adequate, Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson has told MSPs.

The move follows the blaze at the Rosepark Care Home in Uddingston, which claimed 14 lives.

Ms Jamieson told Holyrood that firefighters would be asked to visit the country's 1,800 homes "to provide reassurance to those involved".

A public inquiry will also be held into Saturday's fire.

Ms Jamieson had earlier outlined options for the inquiry to the Scottish Cabinet.

However, no decision will be taken until after police and fire service investigations have been completed.

Those who died were in an area separated by fire doors from the rest of the upper floor, and appeared to have died after being overcome by smoke which penetrated the bedrooms.

Tom Cook, 95
Helen Crawford, 84
Margaret Lappin, 83
Mary McKenner, 82
Isobel MacLachlan, 93
Julia McRoberts, 90
Helen Milne, 82
Anna Stirrat, 82
Annie Thompson, 84
First Minister Jack McConnell said there would be a memorial service later this month, which he hopes to attend.

In her statement to the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday, Ms Jamieson said that the Care Commission was writing to all care homes to remind them of the "vital importance" of ensuring residents were as safe as possible.

She said the commission was seeking to arrange for brigades to visit to homes in their area to assess fire safety and reassure staff and residents.

"I believe it is important that these visits should take place outside of normal daytime hours to offer reassurance and any necessary advice at a time when residents and staff might feel most vulnerable," said Ms Jamieson.

She offered the families affected by the tragedy the "deepest sympathies" of MSPs.

The Scottish Executive has also been in touch with the UK Government, which is to carry out research to establish if sprinklers might have prevented deaths in the Rosepark blaze.

'Install sprinklers'

Scottish National Party justice spokesperson Michael Matheson said the tragedy demonstrated why his proposals at Holyrood for all care homes to have sprinklers should be passed.

His bill, which was lodged in the Scottish Parliament in November, would require all houses of multiple occupation and sheltered housing operators to install sprinklers.

The justice minister said the executive would look at the bill "very carefully".

Labour MSP Michael McMahon, in whose constituency the fire took place, extended his sympathy to the bereaved and paid tribute to the emergency services for displaying "exemplary professionalism in such difficult circumstances".

The Hamilton North & Bellshill MSP said fire service involvement in the safety of premises should no longer end when safety certificates were issued.

Investigation continuing

His view was backed by Lib Dem Central Scotland MSP Donald Gorrie, who said he was astonished to hear the commission rather than the fire brigade conducted fire visits to inspect care homes - unlike south of the border.

Ms Jamieson said English and Welsh regulations were "more specific", but the "intent" was the same.

She added that a change in standards in Scotland would be among the items discussed by the Care Commission and fire authorities.

Ten people died immediately after the blaze, a further two died in hospital on Sunday and another two died on Monday.

An investigation is continuing into what caused the blaze.

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