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‘We’re lucky to be alive’: Guests tell of ‘running under burning embers’ during terrifying escape from blazing hotel where three people and a dog died

  • Three people confirmed dead after fire at the New County Hotel, Perth, Scotland
  • Emergency services were called to the blaze at around 5.10am Monday morning
  • Hotel guests and two people from a neighbouring block of flats were evacuated
  • Terrified guests describe fleeing for their lives after the fire took hold inside 

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Guests who fled a hotel blaze which tragically killed three people and a dog say they are ‘lucky to be alive’.

Terrified guests say they were ‘running under burning embers’ as they escaped a fire at the three-star New County Hotel, County Place, Perth, shortly before 5.10am today.

Emergency services rushed to the scene after the building caught alight, with more than 60 firefighters battling the flames and neighbouring buildings evacuated.

Sadly three people were confirmed to have died at the scene, with ambulance crews treating 11 other people for minor injuries, with some people having to be carried out on stretchers, according to one witness.

Dramatic photos from the scene of the blaze which has left three people dead

Dramatic photos from the scene of the blaze which has left three people dead 

A guest staying at the hotel who gave her name as Barbara told Sky News that she felt ‘lucky to get out alive’ after escaping the fire.

Barbara and her husband had been staying in a room directly above where the fire broke out – she said they woke to the sound of alarms and just left everything and ran.

‘As we reached the front door you could see burning embers falling to the ground. We ran through as quickly as we could, hoping that nothing would fall on us.

‘We didn’t realise how close we were to where the fire started, really we’re lucky to get out alive.

‘Once we were out on the street you could see how bad it really was, we just stood there and watched as people were carried out on stretchers and treated by the emergency services, the people on the second floor were in a particularly bad way.’

She said it had been a traumatic day for her and her husband.

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 afternoon: ‘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.

A fire broke out at a hotel in Perth, Scotland, in the early hours of the morning

A fire broke out at a hotel in Perth, Scotland, in the early hours of the morning 

Roads were blocked off by emergency services who rushed to the scene this morning

Roads were blocked off by emergency services who rushed to the scene this morning

Emergency services were called to reports of a fire shortly before 5.10am today

Emergency services were called to reports of a fire shortly before 5.10am today

‘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.’

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.’

Douglas Ross, Leader of the Scottish Conservatives, tweeted: ‘Absolutely awful to hear of the fire in a Perth hotel which has claimed the lives of three people. What a tragic start to 2023. 

‘My thoughts go out to the loved ones of those who have died. 

‘As always, thanks to our emergency services for their swift response in tragic circumstances.’ 

Smoke and fire damage to windows at the New County Hotel in Perth

Smoke and fire damage to windows at the New County Hotel in Perth

Hotel guests and two people from a neighbouring block of flats were evacuated and are being supported

Hotel guests and two people from a neighbouring block of flats were evacuated and are being supported 

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) said it had sent nine engines to the scene after the alarm was raised

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) said it had sent nine engines to the scene after the alarm was raised

Zeak Muhammad, from Glasgow, who has been visiting people in the area with a friend, said he was shocked by what had happened.

Speaking near the scene in Perth he said: ‘It’s a shame, we’ve been here for five days and we couldn’t believe it, it’s absolutely shocking, seemed like such a nice hotel as well.

‘You never expect anything like that to happen. My thoughts are with their family.

‘I’m really shocked, we saw all the roads closed early and had no idea what had happened until someone told us.’

Police Scotland Chief Superintendent Phil Davison said that inquiries are at an early stage and that no further details of those involved will be released at this time.

He said 11 people had treatment at the scene but did not need to go to hospital.  

The police officer said: ‘I would like to thank the police officers, fire officers and ambulance personnel that responded to this incident this morning for their professionalism in response and to our partner agencies for the support that is being provided.

‘I would ask for patience from the local community as local roads may remain closed for some time.’

‘Our thoughts are very much with the families and loved ones of those who have died and of those affected by this incident which is clearly a very difficult time for everyone,’ he added.

‘Inquiries are now ongoing to establish the full set of circumstances of what has happened this morning and our officers are working closely in joint investigation with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.’

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

11 people were treated by paramedics at the scene but did not need to go to hospital

11 people were treated by paramedics at the scene but did not need to go to hospital

Firefighters continue to work outside the hotel after three people died in a fire in the early hours

Firefighters continue to work outside the hotel after three people died in a fire in the early hours

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) said it had sent nine engines to the scene

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) said it had sent nine engines to the scene

Road closures are in place in the area while emergency services deal with the incident

Road closures are in place in the area while emergency services deal with the incident 

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.’

A police cordon is in place and members of the public are being asked to avoid the area. 

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) said it had sent nine engines to the scene after the alarm was raised.

A spokesperson for the SFRS said: ‘We are currently in attendance alongside emergency service partners at a commercial building fire at County Place in Perth.’

Police Scotland Chief Superintendent Phil Davison (left) and Jason Sharp, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service area commander for Perth, Kinross, Angus and Dundee speaking to the media

Police Scotland Chief Superintendent Phil Davison (left) and Jason Sharp, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service area commander for Perth, Kinross, Angus and Dundee speaking to the media

The New County Hotel, which was open to members of the public, has a 3.5 'very good' rating on Tripadvisor

The New County Hotel, which was open to members of the public, has a 3.5 ‘very good’ rating on Tripadvisor

Meanwhile, 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.’

Eric Drysdale, a Perth city centre councillor, earlier wrote on Facebook: ‘Please be aware this is a very serious incident. My thanks go to Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Police Scotland for their response to this fire.

‘All announcements regarding any confirmed casualties will be made by the emergency services. Please avoid the area today.’ 

Hospital Street, County Place, Leonard Street and New Row have been closed. 

The New County Hotel, which was open to members of the public, has a 3.5 ‘very good’ rating on Tripadvisor.

Source: Daily Mail UK

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