Dunblane is home to some of the finest Hotels in Scotland, and home of the Stirlings of Keir. A MAJOR clean-up operation is under way after a fire at the Hilton Hydro Hotel in Dunblane, Perthshire.
The fire was discovered when a chambermaid reported smoke on the second floor of the £125-a-night hotel. Those evacuated had to spend hours in the hotel grounds, protected by foil cloaks from the cold and wet. They included more than 200 doctors attending a conference and 30 Church of Scotland ministers at a seminar.
No-one was hurt in the drama, which began at 2pm yesterday.
But the second and third floors of the hotel's east wing were badly affected by smoke damage. Last night the hotel turned away all new arrivals and alternative accommodation was found for guests affected. The hotel was hoping to re-open for business later today.
The hotel, formerly a spa and more recently part of the Stakis leisure group, was bought by the Hilton chain four years ago. It is also one of Scotland's foremost conference venues. A multi-million pound upgrade has been under way at the hotel. The Rev Brian Webster, of Cambusbarron Parish Church near Stirling, was attending a seminar in the McLaren Conference Suite when the alarm was raised. He said: "There were two false alarms the day before, but we were made to understand in no uncertain terms that if the alarm did go off, it was not a drill. "Because of that, the evacuation procedures all went extremely smoothly."
Central Scotland Fire Brigade divisional officer John Fenton said the blaze broke out on the second floor. "By the time we got there the premises had already been evacuated. The second floor was smoke logged. "Fire crews wearing breathing apparatus checked the building to make sure everybody was out. "We used thermal- imaging equipment to find the seat of the fire and make sure there were no hidden hot spots."