DEPUTY First Minister John Swinney expressed his condolences for the those who died in a major hotel blaze in Perth. 

Emergency services were called to reports of a fire at the New County Hotel just after 5am on Monday morning. 

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has confirmed that at least three people and a dog died in the fire.

READ MORE: Three people and dog believed to be dead after Perth hotel fire

Writing on Twitter, Swinney said: “Heartbreaking news emerging from #Perth this morning. My sympathies with all affected by this tragedy.”

Earlier this morning, he said he was “very concerned” and that he was “grateful” to the emergency services for their response. 

Police said that a number of guests were evacuated from the hotel, and asked members of the public to avoid the area. 

Pete Wishart, MP for Perth and North Perthshire, said on social media: “This is simply awful news. Really hoped that they had got everyone out. Thoughts with family and friends.”

He added: "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 emergency services who attended the scene in such numbers."

The fire has been extinguished but two fire crews remain at the scene to carry out safety checks. 

Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser said: “What a terrible tragedy. Thoughts with the families of those involved & with the emergency services whose members will have the trauma of discovering bodies and informing relatives.”

Deputy leader of Perth & Kinross Council Eric Drysdale warned members of the public this was a “very serious incident”. 

John Nicolson, who serves as the MP for Ochil and South Perthshire, said: “This is awful news. Thinking of those who’ve lost their lives and their heartbroken family and friends.”

The council warned that traffic in the surrounding area is likely to be impacted as well as routes taken by public transport

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

The leader of Dundee City Council John Alexander said that his “thoughts are with our neighbours and all those affected by this tragic fire”.