Blaze couple and baby 'critical'
A couple and a baby girl are critically ill in hospital after being rescued from a house fire in Belfast.
They were found unconscious in the upstairs bedroom of an address in Jamaica Street in the Ardoyne area of the city.
Substantial damage was caused to the semi-detached property.
William Johnston, of the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS), said neighbours had tried in vain to help.
The station commander said: "The alarm had been raised by neighbours and there were quite a few people gathered around, assisting fire crews and alerting them that there were people inside.
"Some people had tried to gain access but were beaten back by the intensity of the smoke and heat."
Fire crews were called to the scene just before midnight. It is understood a taxi driver saw the flames and raised the alarm.
The house was well alight.
Fire crews wearing breathing apparatus found the three people in a first-floor bedroom at the front of the house.
Mr Johnston said: "All three casualties were unresponsive, they were unconscious and were treated by fire service personnel and paramedics before being taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH)."
An RVH spokesman confirmed all three patients were in a critical condition.
There were no smoke detectors in the house.
Most of the damage was caused to the ground floor of the property, particularly the kitchen area. However, the flames were prevented from spreading to the adjoining house.
At the peak of the incident, 20 firefighters in four appliances were involved.
Sinn Fein councillor Gerry McCabe said the community was in shock.
He said: " They have been life-long residents in Ardoyne.
"While it is too early to indicate the cause of the fire, it is my understanding that it was the quick actions of local people and the fire brigade in tackling this fire that led to people being rescued from the blaze.
"We are all praying that those in hospital do make a speedy recovery."
The cause of the blaze is the subject of a police and fire service investigation.
PSNI Inspector Paul Noble has appealed for anyone with information to come forward.
He said: "The cause of the fire is still under investigation; however, I would ask anyone who was in the area at the time of the fire to contact police on the non-emergency number 101, as they may have information which could help police with their investigation."