The owner of Perth’s New County Hotel has spoken of his devastation after three people died in a horrific fire.
Rashid Hussain is director of Perth Hospitality, who own the hotel in County Place.
He said he was told about the blaze from hotel staff in the morning.
Mr Hussain said: “I am completely devastated by what has happened.
“I haven’t yet spoken with police so don’t have much more detail at this stage.”
Police have confirmed three people and a dog have died after the fire at the Perth hotel.
Emergency services declared a major incident after they were called to the hotel in the Fair City’s County Place shortly after 5am on Monday.
Firefighters, police, and ambulance crews including the Tayside trauma team were dispatched to the scene.
It is understood the victims were two women and one man.
Police say the hotel was evacuated of guests while two people from neighbouring properties also had to be rescued.
Paramedics treated a number of people at the scene but it’s believed their injuries were not serious.
An area around the vicinity remains cordoned off with blue tents erected.
County Place, Hospital Street, Leonard Street and New Row remain shut and people are being asked to avoid the area.
The fire service have since set up a command support unit within the cordon.
In a statement, Chief Superintendent Phil Davison said Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service will work on a joint investigation into the cause of the blaze.
He said: “I can confirm that three people have sadly died at the scene.
“A number of hotel guests and two people from a neighbouring block of flats were evacuated and are being supported by partnering agencies at this time.
“From those who were evacuated I can confirm that eleven people were given treatment from the Scottish Ambulance Service that did not require hospitalisation and I can also confirm that a dog has died at the scene.
“Our thoughts are very much with the families and loved ones of those who have died and those affected by this incident which is clearly a very difficult time for everyone.
“Inquiries are now ongoing to establish the full circumstances of what’s happened this morning and our officers are working closely in joint investigation with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.”
He added: “I would ask for patience from the local community as local roads may remain closed for some time.”
The Scottish Ambulance Service sent 21 resources and were on the scene within seven minutes.
A spokesperson said: “We received a call from Scottish Fire and Rescue Service of a fire at the New County Hotel in Perth at 5.05am.
“We responded with 21 resources including our Special Operation Resource Team, with our first resource on scene at 5.12am.”
Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s Local Senior Officer for Perth, Kinross, Angus and Dundee, Jason Sharp, said: “This was a very complex incident where tragically three people were pronounced dead at the scene.
“Our thoughts are very much with the immediate family and friends at this difficult time.
“Our firefighters worked extremely hard in a very complex and challenging environment to prevent the further spread of fire and damage where possible.
“At its height we had nine fire appliances in attendance with over 60 fire fighters.
“We’re currently still in attendance to make sure the scene is safe.”
Deputy first minister John Swinney expressed his shock on social media.
He said: “This is heart-breaking news, and my thoughts are with the victims of this tragedy, along with their friends and families.
“I would like to put on record my thanks to the emergency services for their quick response and the steps that they have taken to secure the site.”
Meanwhile, Pete Wishart, MP for the area, posted: “This is simply awful news.
“Really hoped that they had got everyone out. Thoughts with family and friends.”
Mr Hussain is also a director of Douglas Hospitality, James Edward Hotel Ltd, Edwin Hotels Ltd, MRH Real Estate, Gemtel Ltd and Parker Hopitality Ltd, as well as other hotel groups either dissolved or in liquidation – all London registered.