by Simon Johnson, The Telegraph, December 18, 2017
Two people have died after fire tore through a five-star hotel on the banks of Loch Lomond.
Police Scotland confirmed the deaths after the blaze broke out at the luxury Cameron House hotel in the early hours of Monday.
Three others are being treated in hospital following the first, which saw more than 45 firefighters called to the hotel at around 6.40am.
Police said one person died at the scene while another passed away at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley.
Three other people, two adults and a child believed to be from one family, were taken to hospital in Glasgow for treatment. Officers said the hotel has been "extensively damaged".
More than 200 guests were evacuated from the hotel while emergency services took control of the area.
Firefighters searched the building and tackled flames in the roof of the hotel from an aerial unit.
Police and fire officers are now investigating the cause of the fire.
A police spokeswoman said: "Police Scotland can now confirm two people have died following a fire at the Cameron House Hotel earlier today, Monday 18 December 2017.
"Around 0650 hours, 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.
A spokesman added: "Officers remain at the scene and are working with other emergency services to establish the exact circumstances of the incident.
"One person was pronounced dead at the scene. Four people were taken to hospital, one to the RAH who later died. A further three people were taken to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital for treatment.
"A report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal."
Other guests were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.
On its website, Cameron House said the fire was within the main building.
A message read: "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."
Cameron House is one of Scotland's most luxurious hotels with views across Loch Lomond. On its Facebook page, the hotel said the fire was within the main building.
An 18th century Baronial mansion, it was converted into a luxury hotel and resort in 1986 after it was sold by the Smollett family, who held the property for three centuries.
The venue offers a romantic location for weddings, a championship standard course for golfers and five-star facilities for guests.
Chef Martin Wishart has a Michelin-starred restaurant at the hotel.
A Scottish Ambulance Service spokesman said: "We received a call at 6.44am today to attend an incident at the Cameron House Hotel.
"We dispatched four ambulances, our special operations response team and the trauma team to the scene."
Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister, described the fire as "dreadful news" on Twitter:
A spokesman said: "Operations Control has mobilised a total of 12 appliances to the scene.The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said officers carried out a search of the building, which has more than 130 bedrooms.
"Firefighters are currently in the process of searching the building while fighting the fire using powerful water jets. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service remains in attendance."
Local MP Martin Docherty described the blaze as "dreadful news", while Dumbarton MSP Jackie Baillie said: "Devastating news about the fire at Cameron House. So terrible to hear of casualties at this time of year.
"Thanks to the emergency services who have been working all morning to get the fire under control."
Speaking on behalf of West Dunbartonshire Council, 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.”