Stockline blast: Families mark 10th anniversary of disaster

Stockline tragedy memorial garden
Image caption The memorial garden stands in the shadow of the tragic factory

It is an oasis of colour and prettiness in an otherwise drab part of Glasgow's Maryhill district. Carefully raked gravel surrounds a circle of memorial stones which are decorated by flower baskets, and in some cases hand-written cards.

Each stone carries a plaque commemorating the name of one of the nine employees of a factory destroyed by a massive propane (LPG) explosion on May 11, 2004.

Fifty metres away a building bears the name Stockline Plastics - by which the disaster will always be known.

Relatives of those killed regularly visit the garden to remember their loved ones.

Image caption Marie Murray lost her husband in the tragedy

Marie Murray, whose husband Kenny, 45, was one of those killed, said his death was a loss she suffers every day, even after 10 years.

But she said the garden gave her solace.

"We come at different times during the year, and always come on the anniversary," she said.

"It is somewhere we can come, quite close to where it happened, and I think it is quite nice for everybody.

"The families can gather here whenever they want and it is a nice wee corner for the community as well. They look after it."

Pauline McKenzie, whose 34-year-old sister Anne French was a victim, said: "We do remember; it is something we will never forget.

"But it is nice for the community to remember in a nice place, a nice garden for them to come to."

Image copyright AP
Image caption A build-up of gas from a fractured pipe caused the 2004 explosion

Although it is recalled as the Stockline disaster, in fact the factory destroyed was owned and operated by a sister company, ICL Plastics.

The company and ICL Tech Limited were each fined £200,000 in August, 2007 after they admitted failing to maintain LPG pipes which had fractured, allowing a build-up of gas which ignited when a fluorescent light was switched on.

Families campaigned for a judge-led inquiry rather than a Fatal Accident Inquiry, and it began taking evidence in July, 2008.

At its conclusion the chairman, Lord Gill, asked the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to examine all LPG installations.

Ian Tasker, assistant secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), said this was something which sheriffs conducting an FAI could not have ordered.

"He (Lord Gill) instructed HSE to inspect industrial LPG installations of this type," Mr Tasker said.

"And a number of failures were identified and a number of enforcement notices and prohibition notices were actually put in place by the HSE preventing, potentially, another explosion."

Maryhill MSP Patricia Ferguson, who represents the area where the factory stood, has proposed a Bill in the Scottish Parliament to allow sheriffs to make similar binding recommendations after an FAI.

Relatives of those who died in 2004 say if that were to happen, it would be a positive legacy of the disaster.

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