Couple found dead after 'chemical incident' in luxury Edinburgh hotel

Emergency services evacuated part of The Scotsman Hotel as teams in protective hazardous material suits investigated room following possible suicide

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The Independent Online

A couple has been found dead after what has been described as a “chemical incident” in a room at a 5-star hotel in Edinburgh.

The bodies of a man and a woman were discovered by staff on the sixth floor of the luxury Scotsman Hotel at around 12.15pm, after which fire services evacuated rooms, police cordoned off the entrance and emergency chemical response teams wearing protective “hazmat” suits were seen entering the building.

No one else was harmed, and the police are not treating it as a criminal investigation. A spokesman said:  “Inquiries are at an early stage and the deaths are being treated as unexplained at this time.”

Detectives are not ruling out suicide as an explanation. They said that there was no ongoing risk to other guests or staff at the hotel.

The incident comes just the day before the beginning of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival tomorrow and the city is very busy, with most hotel rooms occupied.

Among those evacuated were guests at a wedding reception taking place inside the hotel, which describes itself as one of Scotland’s finest and opened in 2001 when the Scotsman newspaper moved to new premises.

American tourist Betty Cuniberti, from San Francisco, told STV that she was in her room on the sixth floor when the fire alarm went off.

She said: ”There was a very loud bang on the door and when I opened it it was a fireman and somebody from the hotel saying it was being evacuated. They told me it was safe to take the elevator but I wasn't happy to do that so I took the stairs.

“I feel just terribly about what's happened. It's really tragic.”

Norma and Derek Cameron, visiting from Kelso in the Scottish Borders to watch the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, told the Associated Press they had not been allowed to return to their room on the eighth floor.

Mrs Cameron, 71, said: “We wanted to get in and get refreshed. The police weren't giving anything away. They just said that the hotel had been closed and everyone evacuated.

“It's horrible to think about. I'm not sure I want to go back in now.”

Speaking at the scene, Chief Inspector Murray Dykes stressed that the hotel is now safe. He said the “hefty response” from chemicals teams was no more than an indication that “full precautions” were being taken.