CCTV shows hotel porter dump ashes in cupboard hours before fatal fire

A chilling two-minute CCTV video details the events leading up to a horrifying hotel fire that killed two guests.

The blaze tore through Cameron House hotel in Loch Lomond in 2017, killing Simon Midgley, 32, and Richard Dyson, 38, both from London, Dumbarton Sheriff Court was told.

CCTV, shown in court, shows night porter Christopher O’Malley removing ash from the fire using a bucket and brush at 3.51 am on the morning of December 18 as 214 guests slept, Daily Record reports.

At 3.57 am, he opens a cupboard in the foyer, next to the hotel's Christmas tree, and empties the bucket of ash into a black plastic bag.

Another member of staff, a so-far unidentified older man, appears to talk to O’Malley as he does this – walking closer to him.

O’Malley is then seen placing the bag of ash inside the cupboard and shutting the door.

The court heard the hotel’s management had previously been strongly warned against this practice by the fire service but took no action.

CCTV footage then cuts to 6.24 am when a camera positioned behind the hotel reception desk shows a flashing red alarm.

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O’Malley opens the cupboard door with the ash inside and a flash of flames can be seen.

Smoke begins to fill the hotel reception and staff appear visibly panicked.

The man who watched O’Malley bag up the ashes tries in vain to tackle the flames pouring from the cupboard with a fire extinguisher.

The video ends at 6.27 am with the reception engulfed in smoke.

Tragically, what happened next is that the flames spread quickly throughout the main body of the hotel.

Firefighters were on the scene within minutes.

A mum, dad and their baby trapped in their room on the second floor of the main building were rescued by crews who used a ladder.

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A firefighter managed to grab the guest list from reception and it was established that 96 rooms had been occupied by 214 guests comprising 189 adults and 25 children.

It wasn’t until after 8am that Mr Midgley and Mr Dyson were discovered to be missing and the information was passed to SFRS who carried out a search of their room only to find it was empty.

A team of firefighters wearing breathing apparatus climbed the fire escape staircase between the first and second floor of the main building, with visibility almost nil due to thick smoke.

On reaching the top of the staircase, they found Mr Dyson, who was unresponsive and carried him to a paramedic crew whose efforts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.

He was taken to the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley where doctors also unsuccessfully attempted to revive him.

Shortly afterwards, the firefighters found Mr Midgley lying in a fire escape passageway behind the door to the landing.

Guilty pleas were entered on behalf of resort management on Friday (January 22) to two charges detailing a list of failings to take the necessary fire safety measures to ensure the safety of employees between January 2016 and December, 18, 2017 including having no safe procedures or equipment for removing ash from the open fires and disposing of it, no formal training for staff for removing ash from open fires in the hotel, failing to keep cupboards containing potential ignition sources free of combustibles.

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