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Last Updated: Friday, 17 August 2007, 09:57 GMT 10:57 UK
Stockline survivor wants closure
By Stephen Stewart
Glasgow and the West reporter, BBC Scotland news website

Linda Kinnon
Linda was one of the last people to be pulled from the building
With her fair, bobbed hair, precise make-up and immaculate wardrobe, she looks every inch the well-manicured career woman.

It is only when Linda Kinnon walks painfully to the door with the aid of a walking stick, that the casual observer realises she may have been through more than most suburban housewives.

Mrs Kinnon was one of the last people to be pulled from the mangled wreckage of what was once the Stockline plastics factory.

It was to be one of the worst industrial accidents in recent history but it started innocuously enough.

She had been sailing through a normal working day at the unit in the Maryhill area of Glasgow when her life was changed irrevocably.

I came to spitting blood and dirt from my mouth
Linda Kinnon
The 54-year-old from Erskine, Renfrewshire, suffered horrendous injuries during her nine hour ordeal.

She fought to retain consciousness as she comforted dying colleagues while rescuers struggled to free them from the collapsed building.

She was on her way to a meeting with her manager Stewart McColl when the explosion happened.

Sitting in her well appointed home, Mrs Kinnon recounted that day. She said: "There was a very loud bang and Stewart said 'What the hell was that?'

"The next thing I knew, I had a sensation of falling. I was unconscious for a time immediately after the explosion.

"I came to spitting blood and dirt from my mouth, wondering what had happened.

The Stockline disaster
Firefighters from across Scotland were involved in the rescue

"I could only move the top half of my body. There was rubble and debris all around me.

"There was a filing cabinet which had been crushed and one of the drawers had opened and hit me in the face.

"The rescuers believe that was what saved me from any head injury as the debris landed on top of that."

A total of five men and four women died, and about 40 people were injured, on 11 May, 2004 in a workplace accident which would only be overshadowed in scale by the Piper Alpha oil rig disaster in 1988.

The four-storey building crashed to the ground just after midday on 11 May. ICL Plastics Ltd and ICL Tech Ltd, which owned the factory, faced charges under health and safety laws.

Long shadow

In her unassuming way, Mrs Kinnon described her injuries and how her aversion to coarse language helped keep her focussed.

She added: "Unfortunately, Mr McColl was partially trapping my legs. I began to shout for help when I heard footsteps above me.

"A four-by-two plank of wood was stuck in my buttock and they had to cut it out. I think I passed out.

"One of the firefighters tried to cut the plank and the saw blade broke.

"His professionalism slipped for a second and he used the f-word.

"I told him off and other firefighters shouted down that I should give him a proper telling off for using that kind of language.

"By the time they cut the plank out, it was me who was using the f-word."

Three years on and the accident still casts a long shadow. Mrs Kinnon just hopes the end of the court case can help with what Americans so often call 'closure'.

As she said: "The lives of the bereaved families have changed forever. My life has changed."


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