Guest smashed window to escape from Cameron House Hotel fire, inquiry told

Andy Logan used a chair to break a window when the hotel was hit by a blaze which left two men dead in December 2017.

16 August 2022

A man has described the moment he, his newlywed wife and young son were rescued from a burning hotel.

Andy Logan, his wife Louise and son Jimmy were trapped in Room 10 at the Cameron House Hotel, on the banks of Loch Lomond near Balloch, during a blaze on December 18 2017.

The Englishman, who works in the hotel trade, went to the five-star hotel just 48 hours after he and his wife married in Worcester.

On Tuesday, he told a Fatal Accident Inquiry into the deaths of Simon Midgley and his partner Richard Dyson how he heard the pre-alarm sound and went to open his door, and at first could detect the same smell that he experienced when he got to the hotel hours before.

Cameron House Hotel fire
The Cameron House Hotel suffered extensive damage (Crown Office/PA)

“I thought then it was smoke coming out of the fires and had come up and triggered the alarm,” said the 46-year-old.

But when he opened the door, and saw “the wall of smoke”, he realised the gravity of the situation and decided to stay put. He turned to his wife, the inquiry heard, and said “we are not getting out”.

“That point in time I was shocked, concerned, but very much I felt still in control. By not going out, I’m now moving to my work head, logical steps, we can’t get out, we can do things now to protect ourselves while the fire brigade come,” he said.

He started to use sheets and pillows to try stop the smoke coming into their hotel room, while Mrs Logan called for help.

The court were played the recording of the 999 call his paramedic wife made to tell them they “can’t get out”.

“The room is filling up with smoke,” she told them, and the call handler told them to stay near the window and the floor.

In the background, coughing can be heard and Jimmy crying.

The power soon went out, Mr Logan told the inquiry, at which point he said he started to “doubt” if the decision to stay put was correct, and smoke continued to billow into their room.

He launched a chair at the window, but it bounced off. When he tried again, he managed to break through it.

“I smashed the window. I then shouted, ‘help, we have got a young child, we are in this room’,” the inquiry heard.

Just moments later he was rescued from ladders, and he remembered the “wallop” of the ladders, with the inquiry being told he went last.

The three were then treated by ambulance crews.

Another guest giving evidence was Alan Pilkington, of Dundee, who recalled seeing them rescued from the burning building and said firefighters went straight there when they arrived.

He, along with other guests, were taken to the boathouse and he told the inquiry of how he became aware those in room eight – Mr Dyson and Mr Midgley – were missing “by deduction”.

The 68-year-old described scenes in the boathouse as “chaotic”, with a lot of staff in there as well as hotel guests.

The inquiry, in front of Sheriff Thomas McCartney, continues at Paisley Sheriff Court.

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