An investigation has been launched after three people and a dog were killed in an early-morning hotel fire in Perth.
More than 60 firefighters were called to tackle the blaze at the New County Hotel in Perth, just after 5am on Monday.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) described the fire as a “very complex incident” as guests and those staying in neighbouring flats were all evacuated.
Police confirmed the deaths of three people at the scene.
Eleven people were treated at the scene but did not need hospital treatment.
Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service have now launched a joint investigation into the incident.
First Minster Nicola Sturgeon branded the incident “sad and shocking” and said she was “hugely grateful” to firefighters who responded to the incident.
Deputy first minister John Swinney described the fatalities as “heartbreaking news”.
Mr Swinney, MSP for Perthshire North, tweeted: “My sympathies with all affected by this tragedy.”
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.
Giving a statement near the scene in Perth, Jason Sharp, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service area commander for Perth, Kinross, Angus and Dundee, 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 firefighters.
“We’re currently still in attendance to make sure the scene is safe. I would like to thank our crews and our other emergency partners and local authority for their support.
“Our firefighters and community action teams have and will continue to engage to ensure safety in this area and we will continue to work closely with stakeholders and Police Scotland in any subsequent investigation.”
Members of the public were asked to avoid the area with roads surrounding the hotel being closed off.
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 5.05am.
“We responded with 21 resources including our special operation resource team, with our first resource on scene at 5.12am.”
Local MP Pete Wishart said the fire was “simply awful news at the beginning of the year when so many people are out celebrating”.
Wishart, who represents Perth and North Perthshire, said: “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.”