A huge firefighting operation took place in the Südstadt neighbourhood of Cologne on Wednesday evening to fight a fire that started on the ground floor of a townhouse and spread through the entire building.
Two bodies were found in the stairwell of the residential building and were confirmed to already be deceased. Authorities have been unable to identify the bodies due to the difficulties involved in evacuating the building.
Four other people were treated in hospital with smoke intoxication.
The Altbau (a house built prior to the Second World War) is situated in a densely built up area of the city and authorities have evacuated the adjacent buildings as a precautionary measure.
A huge operation took place throughout the night to quell the blaze, with 185 firefighters involved in the emergency call out.
The fire is said to have completely destroyed the stairwell and severely damaged the wooden floors and ceiling on all five floors, making any attempts at entering the whole house extremely precarious.
Due to this fact, the firefighters have not yet entered the entire building, leaving the possibility open that other casualties could be discovered.
A city engineer has already examined the smouldering building and assessed that it is not at risk of collapse.