A couple have died in a fire in Merseyside, after passing police officers raised the alarm when they saw smoke coming from the house.
The officers tried to forced their way inside the house in James Street, Wirral at around 8.30pm on Friday but were overcome by heat and smoke, the Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service said.
A woman who was brought outside and given emergency first aid before being transferred to Arrowe Park hospital but she was later pronounced dead.
A man was also found dead inside the house.
Three fire appliances attended the scene and firefighters worked for around an hour to put out the flames.
Dave Mottram of Merseyside Fire & Rescue paid tribute to the "valiant" efforts of the police officers who tried to save the couple.
He said: "The fire service were alerted by the police who discovered the fire whilst in attendance at another incident in the street.
"Police officers made valiant attempts to save the occupiers, forcing entry through the front door, but unfortunately they were unable to do so due to the effects of severe heat and smoke."
An examination of the scene, which has been sealed off, will begin today as the cause of the fire is investigated jointly by Merseyside Police and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.
It is not clear what age the couple were, Merseyside Police said, as they began house-to-house enquiries to find out who the pair were and inform their next of kin.