The fire in the Putnik hotel in Novi Sad, some 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Belgrade, started around midnight and was extinguished early Wednesday, police said.
"The fire started in the basement, spreading quickly from room to room," said police officer Stojan Suknovic, estimating that about a third of the small hotel burned down.
Doctors in the local hospital said that the victims, one woman and two men - all believed to be Serbs - died of smoke inhalation. Police said that the cause of the fire was being investigated.
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