Dead fireman Ewan Williamson's family seeks damages

Ewan Williamson Ewan Williamson died while tackling a blaze at a bar in Edinburgh

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The family of a firefighter who was killed tackling a blaze in Edinburgh is raising an action for damages in the Court of Session.

Ewan Williamson, 35, died while fighting a fire in the Balmoral Bar in Dalry on 12 July 2009.

The results of an official investigation into what happened have yet to be made public.

He is the only firefighter in the history of Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service to die tackling a blaze.

Mr Williamson's mother, Linda, and his sisters, Rachel and Rebecca have launched the action against the firefighter's former employers, Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Board.

They believe mistakes were made that night which cost Mr Williamson his life and their questions about why things went wrong remain unanswered.

In a statement, the family said: "With this action we hope to get answers and justice.

"Almost three years have passed since Ewan lost his life and we have waited patiently for the authorities to investigate what happened and either prosecute those they hold responsible or hold a Fatal Accident Inquiry into Ewan's death.

"Despite the passage of time, we still do not know all the facts or why Ewan died.

"We believe something went wrong that night and we want to know why.

Edinburgh funeral Thousands lined the streets to pay their respects to Ewan Williamson

"We had hoped and expected that after all this time and all the investigations carried out by the Health & Safety Executive, the police and an external fire brigade, that the Crown Office would have been able to take a decision on how to proceed.

"As matters presently stand, however, we do not know if a decision has even been taken to prosecute anyone for Ewan's death or if a Fatal Accident Inquiry is to be held."

The family added: "The night we lost Ewan turned our lives upside down. Nothing can ever replace him but we feel that we cannot move on until we know what happened to Ewan and any lessons which should be learned and applied from that night are put into practice.

"The justice system is taking far too long and we simply cannot wait any longer. Enough is enough."

Syd Smith, senior partner at Thompsons Solicitors, who is representing the family, said: "The Williamson family have waited long enough for action and answers regarding Ewan's tragic death.

"That is why we are having to launch a legal action for damages.

"The length of time it is taking the Crown Office to make a decision on how to proceed is frankly unacceptable."

'Cooperated fully'

Roddy Robertson, Fire Brigade Union executive council member for Scotland, said: "The Fire Brigades Union have supported the Williamson family throughout their ordeal.

"We share their interest in what happened that night and why Ewan died."

A Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said: "Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service has co-operated fully with the police investigation into Ewan's death.

"It is of paramount importance to us that we understand the full circumstances of what happened the night that Ewan died.

"Our personnel have taken part in thousands of hours' worth of interviews, with police, the Health and Safety Executive and to assist with our organisation's own investigation into the circumstances of the incident.

"We must await the outcome of the legal process to determine what lessons can to be learned from Ewan's death."

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