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Two dead in Loch Lomond hotel fire


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Media captionFootage of the fire at Cameron House

Two guests have died after fire broke out at the Cameron House Hotel beside Loch Lomond.

More than 200 guests were evacuated from the luxury hotel after the alarm was raised at about 06:40.

Police said one person was pronounced dead at the scene while another died after being taken to the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley.

Three other people, including a child, were taken to Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital for treatment.

Police Scotland said the hotel, near Balloch, had been extensively damaged.

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A number of guests were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “Around 06:50, police were called to a report of a fire at the hotel.

“More than 200 guests were evacuated from the building, which has been extensively damaged.

“Officers remain at the scene and are working with other emergency services to establish the exact circumstances of the incident.”

She added that a report would be submitted to the procurator fiscal.

The three people taken to hospital in Glasgow were members of the same family who were rescued by firefighters.

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Twelve fire appliances were sent to the scene

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Smoke rises over Loch Lomond from the fire, as seen from Balloch

Another guest told BBC Radio Scotland how she initially thought the fire alarm was a drill.

Ainsley Huxham said: “As soon as we left our room – I just thought it was a fire alarm, just like a practise go.

“But when we left – five stairs down from our room – we saw a whole room full of smoke and flames.

“So we had to run back down the hall, chapped on everyone’s doors and shouted ‘fire!’.”

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Emergency services working at the scene of the fire watched by guests

She added: “We got out within five minutes of the fire brigade getting called.

“And by the time we had got outside, the whole field was full of people.”

Staff who turned up for their shifts at the hotel during the morning were being stopped at the entrance.

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PA

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One woman who works in the kitchen told the BBC news website she just heard about the fire as she was getting ready for work.

She said she didn’t believe the news until she came down and saw the smoke.

“It’s a really lovely hotel,” she said.

“I’m so sorry to see this.”

Stewart King, general manager of the neighbouring Duck Bay Marina, said he had been down to the hotel this morning and was shocked by the extent of the damage.

“It was very bad,” he said.

Guests were being sheltered in Cameron House’s Boathouse restaurant while the situation was ongoing.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said it deployed 12 appliances to the scene.

A spokeswoman said firefighters had been searching the building while fighting the fire using powerful water jets.

Cameron House is one of Scotland’s most luxurious hotels, with views across Loch Lomond.

The venue offers a romantic location for weddings, a championship standard course for golfers and five-star facilities for guests.

The chef Martin Wishart has a Michelin-starred restaurant at the hotel.

Cameron House is owned by US investment firm KSL Capital Partners, which was reported to have paid between £70 million and £80m for the 132-room property in 2015.

A statement on the hotel’s website read: “Due to an ongoing incident please be aware that Cameron House will remain closed to arriving guests for at least the next 72 hours.

“We would ask all guests and customers to remain patient as we work with the emergency services to establish the extent of the damage and ascertain when we will be able to re-open.

“More information will follow in due course.”

Flags were being flown at half-mast at West Dunbartonshire Council buildings.

Provost William Hendrie said: “It is heart-breaking to hear that people have died as a result of the fire at Cameron House today.

“The families of those who have sadly died in such tragic circumstances will need all of our support and I know that the thoughts of the people of West Dunbartonshire will be with them.

“For something like this to happen so close to Christmas is just too painful to comprehend.

“I know the staff at Cameron House will also be devastated and our thoughts also go out to them.”


Cameron House key facts

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Cameron House

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Cameron House situated by Loch Lomond is one of Scotland’s most prestigious hotels

  • Under the ownership of the Smollett family, Cameron House was extended and refurbished a number of times.
  • It was substantially refurbished in 1830 and underwent rebuilding work following a fire in 1865.
  • The mansion house was sold by the Smolletts in 1986 and converted into a hotel.
  • The five star Loch Lomond venue has 132 rooms and is surrounded by 100 acres of woodland.
  • The hotel is a popular wedding venue and houses the Michelin starred Martin Wishart at Loch Lomond restaurant.
  • In all, the resort has five restaurants, access to a spa and a championship golf course.
  • American investment firm KSL Capital Partners bought Cameron House for about £70m two years ago.

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