Two people died in a fire in Manchester's Chinatown, police have confirmed.

A multi-storey building in the area was engulfed by flames on Friday (25 November) at 2.15am, as emergency fire crews attended the scene.

Firefighters were forced back as debris fell from the building, which was severely damaged in the blaze.

Once the fire had been contained the building was searched, following fears that homeless people may have been sleeping inside.

Speaking from the scene, fire service spokesman Paul Etches said: "It is very, very unsafe in there at the moment and very difficult for crews to get in and work in and around.

"We have still got pockets of fire and quite a large area of the building has suffered quite a serious partial collapse. The roof has burnt through and it is very, very difficult to search the second and third floors of the building."

He explained it was too early in the investigation to determine the age or sex of the victims or establish whether they were rough sleepers, Sky News reports.

"We have heard the same but at this time there is nothing, no intelligence, we have found. It is too early to tell."

Chief Inspector Gareth Parkin added: "These are tragic circumstances and we working to identify the people who were found in the building.

"A joint investigation with the fire service is in its early stages and we will be carrying out a number of enquiries to establish how this fire started. I would appeal to anyone with any information about this incident to please call us."

Information can be passed on to police by calling 101 and quoting incident number 146 of 25 November 2016 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.