Family in court over Rosepark Care Home fatal blaze

THE family who ran a nursing home where 14 residents died in a fire have been accused of health and safety breaches. Thomas Balmer, wife Anne and son Alan are charged in connection with the blaze at Rosepark Care Home in Uddingston, Lanarkshire, on January 31, 2004.

They faced 17 charges as a hearing began yesterday at the High Court in Glasgow.

The Balmers are listed as the “whole surviving partners” of the now dissolved firm Rosepark Care Home.

The indictment includes allegations there was a failure to maintain an adequate or effective system or strategy for fire safety at Rosepark.

There is an accusation that fire exits on one occasion in 2000 were obstructed by mattresses, an organ, a hoist and a wheelchair.

It is also claimed a new fire alarm was installed on or around January 27, 2004 – but staff were not instructed how to use it.

There is an allegation there was a failure to prepare a personal emergency plan for each resident and to ensure residents who could not be evacuated were adequately protected in accommodation that could resist smoke and fire.

Croftbank House Ltd – formerly Balmer Care Homes Ltd – is also accused of 14 breaches of health, safety and fire regulations.

Lawyers for the Balmers and Croftbank House Ltd yesterday began a challenge to the legal validity of the indictment. The hearing continues.