THE family of tragic firefighter Ewan Williamson today told how they will mark the third anniversary of his death while still awaiting answers about the circumstances of the blaze which killed him.
Ewan, 35, died in the Balmoral Bar on July 12, 2009, battling the flames on the lower floors as 20 people, including a baby, were rescued from the flats above.
A joint police and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inquiry was launched in the weeks following the fire on Dalry Road amid speculation that failures in safety procedures contributed to Ewan’s death, a claim that was fiercely rejected by the fire service. The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service today said that a report produced as a result of the “highly complex” investigation was still being considered and the family would be kept updated.
On the eve of the third anniversary of the tragedy, Ewan’s mother Linda told the Eveing News: “Ewan’s family and friends will be spending time together privately as we always do on this day. It is a special and sad day for us.”
Earlier this year, the Evening News told how Ewan’s family – Linda and his sisters, Rachel and Rebecca – had offered to “freeze” a damages claim against the Fire Service if the Crown Office decided to prosecute anyone over his death.
The family launched the legal action in a bid to push the Crown into deciding whether to prosecute or mount a fatal accident inquiry.
In March this year, their solicitor, Syd Smith, said the case lodged at the Court of Session in Edinburgh could be put off if the Crown confirmed its intentions following the conclusion of the joint investigation by police and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). But three years after Ewan’s untimely death, his family are still waiting for answers – something Linda said had been “a great stress” on them.
Tomorrow the fallen firefighter’s colleagues will also mark the anniversary of his death, with Chief Fire Officer Alex Clark placing a wreath at Ewan’s memorial at Fire Service HQ on Lauriston Place.
A spokeswoman for Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service said: “This anniversary is very much in our minds and we will be making a simple outward marking of the occasion. Our Chief Fire Officer Alex Clark will place a wreath at Ewan’s memorial at our headquarters on the morning of the anniversary and members of our Service will visit the memorial throughout the day.”
Thousands of people have signed an Evening News petition calling for Ewan to be awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal, and the campaign is continuing.
The medal bid, backed by former chancellor Alistair Darling, calls on officials to bestow the highest gallantry award on the firefighter.