Dozens evacuated from early morning hostel blaze in Inverness

Emergency crews were called to the scene just after 05:00

More than 50 people have been evacuated from a backpackers hostel after an early morning blaze in Inverness.

Police Scotland said the alarm was raised just after 05:00 at the hostel in the Eastgate area of the city.

One eyewitness described the flames coming from the four storey Eastgate Backpackers Hostel as "horrendous".

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said all residents had been accounted for and the fire was under control. Nobody was injured.

The 51 people who were evacuated, many of them still in their night clothes, were given shelter inside the nearby Eastgate Shopping Centre.

They have been taken on to a reception centre in the Spectrum Centre, at Farraline Park, set up by Highland Council and the British Red Cross.

Fire crews searched the hostel building to establish whether anyone had been trapped inside.

Police Scotland said the High Street had been closed from Stephen's Brae/Inglis Street to Crown Road while the fire was fully extinguished and area was secured.

Ch Insp Graeme Murdoch, Area Commander for Inverness, said: "We are happy to report that all occupants of the hostel were evacuated and there appear to be no casualties. Welfare arrangements are in place for those affected.

"Investigation of the cause of the fire will now commence and we are actively seeking to minimise disruption to the city centre."

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