Suicides in Car fires

Gwrthodwyd y cais gan Lothian and Borders Fire Brigade.

Namaste Publishing

Dear Lothian and Borders Fire Brigade,

Please could you tell me if you have any records of there being any suicides in car fires since 1994 and if so please can you state:

1. What date did these suicides occur?
2. What inquiries were carried out into the deaths?
3. Were the deaths ever treated or investigated as murder?
4. Who was the pathologist who declared that each death was suicide?
5. How was the fire started and accelerated?
6. Did the vehicle suffer from any crash damage before catching fire?
7. Which drugs did the deceased test to be under the influence of?
8. What was the name of the Investigating Fire Officer in each case.
9. What was the official cause of death in each case?
10. Who alerted the fire service of the fire in each case?

Yours faithfully,

Namaste Publishing

Ruth MacLeod, Lothian and Borders Fire Brigade

With regard to your FOI request I have to inform you that this information is not held by the Service in line with section 17(1) of FOISA. In order to assist you I would suggest that the information may be held by the Police or Procurator Fiscal Service/Crown Office in Scotland.

In the event that you are dissatisfied with this response, or the way in which your request has been dealt with, you have the right to demand the Service review its actions and decisions in relation to this matter. This must be done within 40 working days from the date of this notice and the request for review must be in writing or in some other retainable form and you must give your name and an address for correspondence. To assist in your request being dealt with efficiently and effectively, please address it to the Chief Fire Officer, Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service, Lauriston Place, Edinburgh EH3 9DE quoting the reference stated below and state clearly what it is that gives rise to your dissatisfaction.

Please note that in the event the Service fails to respond to your requirement for a review within 20 working days of receiving it, then you have the right to apply to the Scottish Information Commissioner for a decision on whether your request for information has been dealt with correctly by the Service. This action should be taken within 6 months of the date you receive this letter and your application should be sent to the Scottish Information Commissioner, Kinburn Castle, Doubledykes Road, St Andrews, Fife KY16 9DS.

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Namaste Publishing

Dear Lothian and Borders Fire Brigade,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Lothian and Borders Fire Brigade's handling of my FOI request 'Suicides in Car fires'.

Please provide all electronic or paper records held in relation to the request. As the request is only related to people dying in car fires where the death has been recorded as suicide - rather than accidental or murder, then there should not be an unreasonable number of deaths to look into in order to provide the information requested.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:

Yours faithfully,

Namaste Publishing

Ruth MacLeod, Lothian and Borders Fire Brigade

I acknowledge your request for a review.

Kind regards



Ruth MacLeod, Media Manager
Central Services - Corporate Communications
Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service
Tel: 0131 659 7312 | Fax: | Mob:
Email: [email address] | Web:


John Dickie, Lothian and Borders Fire Brigade

Dear Sir/Madam

Thank you for your email of 3 August seeking a review of Ms MacLeod's
decision to refuse your request for information under the Freedom of
Information Act 2002.

I have reviewed Ms MacLeod's response to your request and conclude as

I am satisfied with the original decision.

The information you requested is not held (s17(I)).

The original decision was made in consultation with specialist Operations
staff. We do not record fire deaths by suicide and as such have no records
of suicides in car fires.

Sudden deaths in Scotland are investigated by the police at the direction
of the Procurator Fiscal Service. The Procurator Fiscal has a duty to
investigate all sudden, suspicious, accidental and unexplained deaths. A
report will be compiled by the police and submitted to the PF and it is
for those agencies to determine the official cause of death (reference
your question 9).

The police are responsible for providing full information about the
circumstances of the death. Normally this investigation will include
interviews with family/friends/colleagues of the deceased to provide as
much information and as full a picture as possible of that individual and
any circumstances leading to their sudden death (reference your question
2). The fire service do not determine whether a death is recorded as a
suicide but we do report on and record fire fatalities. It would not be a
matter for the Fire and Rescue Service whether a death was
treated/investigated as a murder (reference your question 3).

In a number of cases reported to the Procurator Fiscal it will be
necessary to instruct a post mortem examination to determine cause of
death and allow for a death certificate to be issued. The time necessary
to investigate the death can vary considerably depending on the
circumstances but it would not necessarily be the case that the Fire and
Rescue Service would be informed of the final outcome of those
investigations including the cause of death (i.e. whether the death was
declared a suicide/murder as per your enquiry).

I note that in order to assist you with your request Ms MacLeod advised
you that the appropriate agencies to answer your FOI request would be the
police and Procurator Fiscal Service. I see that you followed that advice
and submitted your questions to those agencies whilst at the same time
requesting a review of our actions.

The original request suggests a lack of understanding regarding the role
of the Fire and Rescue Service.

To clarify, I can confirm that as well as not recording suicides in car
fires we do not hold a record of whether deaths were investigated as
murder (as asked by you in question 3).

We do not hold information in relation to pathologists or any declarations
made by pathologists/or drug use of the deceased (questions 4 and 7).

Without being able to identify deaths as suicides it is not possible for
us to provide the records you seek (reference your question 5, 6, 8,10).
Even looking at individual fire death reports it would not be possible for
us to say whether a death was decreed a suicide by the police/PF or what
the cause of death was as they would hold that information, not our
Service (reference your question 9).

It was for this reason that Ms MacLeod directed you to the most
appropriate agencies for the investigation of sudden deaths in Scotland.
In that respect I am satisfied that her response to your request was
appropriate and helpful.

Please note that if you are dissatisfied with the review's decision you
have the right to take your complaint to the Scottish Information
Commissioner at Kinburn Castle, Doubledykes Road, St Andrews, Fife, KY16

The complaint must be submitted within six months of the date of this
notice and be in writing or some other retainable form and you must give
your name and address for correspondence.

When making an application you should specify:

The request for information to which the Service's review relates Why you
were dissatisfied with the response to the request and Why you are
dissatisfied with the response to the review

Should you have any query regarding the contents of this letter please do
not hesitate to contact me.

John Dickie

Head of Operations.


John Dickie, Area Commander - Head of Operations
Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service
Tel: 0131 659 7288 | Fax: 0131 551 6787 | [mobile number]
Email: [email address] | Web: