Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Dead fireman Ewan Williamson's family start legal action

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

The family of an Edinburgh firefighter who died while on duty has begun a £700,000 legal action for damages.

Ewan Williamson, 35, was killed while tackling a fire in the Balmoral Bar on Dalry Road in July 2009.

His family claim problems with the way the fire was tackled contributed to Mr Williamson's death.

They have begun an action at the Court of Session suing Lothian and Borders Fire Board for compensation. The board is contesting the action.

His mother Linda Williamson, 69, from Kinross, and his sisters Rachel, 45, from California, and Rebecca, 41, from Stourbridge, in the West Midlands, claim watch commander Tim Foley did not recognise a warning of a potentially very dangerous "backdraught fire".

They allege that it ought to have been obvious that the seat of the fire was not going to be found by the time Mr Williamson entered again.

The family said in their action: "It ought to have been obvious that it was pointless to further risk the lives of firemen to fight the fire in the basement.

Image caption Thousands lined the streets to pay their respects to Ewan Williamson

"An ordinarily competent fire officer exercising reasonable care would have recognised this and not re-committed the deceased."

The action also maintains Mr Williamson did not have sufficient recovery time before he went in again.

It is claimed: "A suitable and sufficient assessment would have indicated that it was unsafe to recommit the deceased having had only a 10-minute break."

They also maintain that ventilating the fire by smashing windows in order to clear smoke from the bar made the task of fighting the fire in the pub basement more dangerous.

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