Three people killed in early-morning hotel blaze

Three people have died after an early-morning hotel blaze in Perth, police have confirmed

Emergency services were called to the New County Hotel just after 5am on Monday.

Police Scotland said three people had been confirmed dead at the scene.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney described the fatalities as “heartbreaking news”.

Mr Swinney, the MSP for Perthshire North, tweeted: “My sympathies with all affected by this tragedy.”

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Chief Superintendent Phil Davison said: “Our thoughts are very much with the families and loved ones of those who have died at what is a very difficult time for everyone.

“Our inquiries are ongoing to establish the full circumstances of what has happened and officers are conducting a joint investigation with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.”

Police Scotland said officers were called to the hotel in County Place shortly before 5.10am.

Guests had been evacuated, along with two people staying in a neighbouring block of flats.

A number of people were treated for minor injuries by crews from the Scottish Ambulance Service.

Roads surrounding the hotel were closed off with members of the public asked to avoid the area.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said it had sent nine appliances to the scene after the alarm was raised at 5.02am.

A spokesperson said: “We are currently in attendance alongside emergency service partners at a commercial building fire at County Place in Perth.”

A Scottish Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We received a call from Scottish Fire and Rescue Service of a fire at the New County Hotel in Perth at 05:05hrs.

“We responded with 21 resources including our special operation resource team, with our first resource on scene at 05:12hrs.”

Local MP Pete Wishart said the fire was “simply awful news at the beginning of the year when so many people are out celebrating”.

Mr Wishart, who represents Perth and North Perthshire, added: “My thoughts are firmly with the families and friends of the victims.

“When the news broke, we all hoped that everyone would make it out and would be accounted for. This is the last thing that anybody expected.

“I know the people of Perth will be devastated by this news and would like to extend their deepest sympathies to those affected by this tragedy.

“Can I also thank the emergency services who attended the scene in such numbers.”