Firefighter sues for £150,000 after ‘tripping on fire engine door’


A FIREFIGHTER is suing a Scottish brigade for more than £150,000, claiming he tripped on loose door trimming in a fire engine and plunged to the ground.

Robert Anderson says he hurt his back and remains on painkillers following the Boxing Day accident almost three ago.

The 49-year-old was a part-time firefighter with Strathclyde and claims he had to quit the brigade as well as losing his job with an engineering firm.

Mr Anderson, from Dunoon, Argyll, also claims that as a result of the accident he suffered marital difficulties and separated from his wife for three months.

Papers lodged the Court of Session, Edinburgh, by his lawyers say the accident happened after the fire engine returned from a 999 call in the town.



Mr Anderson’s lawyers say the firefighter was climbing down from the rear cab in the “prescribed fashion”.

“As he attempted to do so…his foot caught on a section of trim from the door of the fire appliance which was loose such that he lost his balance and fell to the ground landing heavily on his back,” they claim.

Mr Anderson went to Cowal Community Hospital after the fall, the court papers say, and later went to Inverclyde Royal Hospital to be treated for persistent lumbar pain.

He has been “required to take painkilling medication and to undergo painkilling injections as a result of persistent back pain,” say his lawyers.

He lost his job with engineering firm Storie (Argyll) ltd because of ill health, and his job as a retained firefighter was terminated, they add.

The 49-year-old can no longer carry out “heavier household tasks” such as gardening, and can no longer play football or swim, his lawyers say.




The court papers continue: “The Pursuer’s accident injuries have caused him considerable difficulties in his relationship with his wife to the extent that they separated for a period of approximately 3 months which greatly distressed the pursuer.”

The papers claim that the fire engine involved in the incident needed to be repaired.

“A temporary repair was carried out by the [brigade] prior to the appliance being returned to the Defenders’ workshop for a full repair to be carried out,” say Mr Anderson’s lawyers.

They added: “A personal injury investigation report was also completed by the [brigade].

“The conclusion reached by the…Watch Commander, who completed the personal injury investigation report, was that the root cause of the accident was a faulty door trim.”

Mr Anderson is seeking the £150,000 sum, as well as expenses for the court action, to cover loss of earnings and pension rights and in compensation for the injury.

Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service deny they were at fault and say the sum sued for is excessive.

Lawyers for the fire service claim Mr Anderson’s own “fault and negligence” at least contributed to any accident.

They allege: “[Mr Anderson] had a duty to take reasonable care for his own safety, failed in that duty and so caused or… at least materially contributed to his own accident.

“But for his said failures in duty the accident would not have occurred as described.”

Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service declined to comment on the case.



The legal bid comes after the family of another firefighter who died while tackling a blaze more than three years ago sued another fire service for £700,000.

The family of Ewan Williamson claim Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service were responsible for several errors took place the night he was sent to a fire at the Balmoral Bar in Edinburgh on 19 July 2009.

It was also revealed by a freedom of information request last month that firefighters dealt with 41 fires in their own fire stations over the past decade.

Crews across the country have used fire hoses, thermal imaging cameras, ladders and Co2 extinguishers to put out at least 41, mostly accidental, fires since 2002.