A man, woman and child are fighting for their lives in hospital after being rescued from a house fire in Belfast.
They were found unconscious in the upstairs bedroom of a property at Jamaica Street in the Ardoyne area of the city.
The blaze started in the ground floor of the house just before midnight. No smoke alarms were fitted.
William Johnston, of the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS), said the dwelling was well alight when crews arrived at the scene.
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 wearing breathing apparatus found the three people in an upstairs bedroom at the front of the house.
Mr Johnston added: “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.
Substantial damage has been caused to the ground floor of the property, particularly the kitchen area.
However, the flames were prevented from spreading to the adjoining house, Mr Johnston said.
At the peak of the incident, 20 firefighters in four appliances were involved. An investigation into the cause of the fire has been launched.
Sinn Fein councillor Gerry McCabe said the community was in shock.
He said: “They have been lifelong 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.”