Successful Outcome – Victim Dead!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”


Then there was the case of Alison Hume, a 44 year old mother who had fallen 45 feet down an abandoned mine shaft, part of a coal mine that closed in 1926. It happened at 11.30pm while she had been taking a shortcut home across a field near Galston in Ayrshire, Scotland after visiting friends in July 2008.

She was found by her teenage daughter. Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service were called and when they arrived fireman Alexander Dunn was lowered to the bottom of the shaft. Mrs Hume was still conscious but had a collapsed lung, several broken ribs and a broken sternum.

A paramedic was strapped up in a harness ready to follow to give emergency medical aid.

However, before the paramedic could render assistance, group commander Paul Stewart arrived as a “media relations officer”. He assumed command after realising he was the most senior officer there. (Know the type? A moron, with no common sense, in a job he is not capable of doing.)

Stewart’s first move was to stop the paramedic from being lowered down the mine shaft. He also  refused to allow colleagues to rescue Mrs Hume using ropes because (you’ve heard this one before) “they had not received the correct training”.

Mr Stewart feared they could be sued if the mission failed – in other words, this cretin cared much more about keeping his job than he did about doing his job and saving Mrs Hume, a member of the public who it was his duty as part of the emergency services to help.

Incredibly – or maybe not – this moron Stewart later told a fatal accident inquiry that the operation had a “successful outcome” because the casualty was ultimately removed from the shaft. Mrs Hume was lifted out but died shortly afterwards from a heart attack brought on by hypothermia.

Also incredibly – or again maybe not – instead of being fired (unfortunately you cannot be jailed even for this degree of stupidity), moron Stewart is still with Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service and is actually on the waiting list for promotion to divisional commander!

In the fatal inquiry report Sheriff Desmond Leslie said Mrs Hume might have survived if she had been removed sooner, and that Mr Stewart and colleague William Thomson were “focused on self-justification for the action or non-action taken by them” and did not reflect on lessons that could be learned from the tragedy. The sheriff added: “I found their evidence bullish, if not arrogant.

When you put morons in positions of responsibility for which they are clearly not fit, you will invariably get decisions that use regulations as excuse for failure, rather than a reason for success.

Of course, morons like Stewart would not have the luxury of hiding behind stupid rules if the bureaucrats didn’t make the stupid rules in the first place. Former watch commander John Bowman – who had been ordered to rewrite the rule book on rope rescues weeks before the tragedy – said as much when he spoke out against his former employers. Mr Bowman had warned bosses that changing the rules to prevent firemen using ropes to rescue people was “a disaster waiting to happen”.

He said: ‘Many incidents you go to in the brigade don’t end with a successful resolution. Sometimes the person can be dead before you get there, sometimes you just can’t help people. This was not the case for Mrs Hume. It’s not the fire service’s finest hour.’

You can say that again!

But sadly a moron like Stewart will never realize it!!



Have you had similar experiences? Send them along. Let the world know what is happening before it is too late.

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