COMMUNITY leaders have called for lessons to be learned from the deadly Cameron House fire.

The hotel and a night porter pleaded guilty to safety violations where fireplace ash and embers were put in a plastic bag next to kindling in December 2017. There was no proper training or written policy for the disposal of ash.

Simon Midgley and Richard Dyson died as a result of the failings.

Jackie Baillie MSP hit out at the length of time it took for the prosecution to take place and the anguish that would cause to the victims’ families who repeatedly fought for answers.

She said: “This is completely heartbreaking for all involved – not least for the families of Simon and Richard.

"After three long, painful years these families finally have the answers that they need as to why their beloved sons and brothers died in this fire.

READ MORE: Cameron House fire: hotel owners admit shocking safety breaches for blaze that killed two guests

“It is deeply concerning to learn that this fire could have been avoided, had the staff involved been given the proper training needed, and more importantly, had the hotel owners heeded the prior warnings given to them about their safety standards.

“The length of time that it has taken for this case to be concluded has caused the families involved undue stress and pain, during what is already an unimaginably difficult time for them.

“Going forward, steps must be taken by Cameron House to ensure that failings of this magnitude never happen again. We now know that these deaths were avoidable.”

West Dunbartonshire MP Martin Doherty-Hughes added: “To learn this tragedy may have been avoidable is utterly heart-breaking and lessons must be learned to ensure it can never happen again.”

After the convictions, police said they continued to support the families of the two victims.

Detective Inspector Stuart Grainger said: “We note this conviction, which marks the latest stage in what has been a lengthy and difficult investigation for everyone involved.

WATCH: CCTV footage shows fatal fire taking hold in Cameron House Hotel

“We’d once again like to offer our sincere condolences to the families and friends of Simon Midgley and Richard Dyson, who tragically lost their lives on Monday, December 18, 2017.

“Our officers will continue to provide them support as this case comes to its conclusion.”

Sentencing will take place tomorrow (Friday, January 29).

Cameron House Resort (Loch Lomond) Limited had a turnover of more than £40 million in the two years they ignored multiple warnings about fire hazards.

As the firm pleaded guilty last Friday to breaking safety standards over that period leading up to two deaths in December 2017, the Crown made a point of listing four years of company turnover.

The fire saw turnover plunge, but they still managed £4.8m in 2018 and £4.7m in 2019, according to advocate depute Michael Meehan QC.

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Cameron House pleaded guilty as a company, registered at Victoria Street, London - there were no individuals from management named in court documents or appearing in person in the dock.

In the most recent Companies House filing, Cameron House listed its directors as Coley Brenan, Richard Weissman and Stephen Walker.

Just before their own independent safety assessment warned about the concierge cupboard in January 2016, Cameron House was acquired by CMH Investment II (UK) Limited, set up in 2015 to take it over.

It was owned by KSL Capital Partners, a private equity firm listed with headquarters in Denver, Colorado. The ultimate owner is Monroe Offshore Holdings XI Limited, registered in the Cayman Islands, a tax haven put on an EU blacklist shortly after the UK left the union.

The fire is referenced in their annual filing, but not the loss of life, just the the financial impact.

Helensburgh Advertiser: The Cameron House extensionThe Cameron House extension

Reopening of the hotel is set for the “second quarter” of 2021, heard Dumbarton Sheriff Court. The estimated cost of the rebuild is £25.8m, most covered by insurance.

Last year plans were announced for a 68-room extension and more banqueting facilities, due to open in November 2021.

In his statement to the court on Friday, the hotel’s defence QC said the hotel was rebuilt with a steel structure and “extensive fire-stopping and compartmentalisation”.

There will be no open fires in the main building.

“The company also maintains public liability coverage in amounts that it believes are sufficient to cover any third-party claims resulting from the fire,” state their accounts.

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