Fire service admits bar blaze breaches

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The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has admitted health and safety breaches in connection with the death of Edinburgh firefighter Ewan Williamson, in a 2009 bar blaze.

At the High Court in Edinburgh this week, the fire service (SFRS) admitted breaches under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Mr Williamson, 35, was serving with Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service – now east division of the SFRS – when he died after getting trapped in the building.

Fire crews from the Borders had also joined their city colleagues as they tackled the flames at the Balmoral Bar in Dalry Road.

The SFRS pleaded guilty to failing to have in place an effective system of radio communication and an effective system of implementation of procedures for firefighters using breathing apparatus during the fire.

It also admitted failing to adequately monitor and ensure attendance by firefighters at training courses and failing to maintain accurate training records for them between July 13, 2008 and July 12, 2009.

It further admitted failing to adequately train firefighters to ensure close personal contact was maintained during firefighting and search and rescue activities in the same period. Judge Lord Uist adjourned the case until March 20 for sentencing.