Two men have died in a fire at a block of apartments in Mallow, Co Cork.

The alarm was raised shortly after midnight when smoke was seen coming from the Granary Court apartments on St Joseph's Road.

Gardaí rescued a man and woman from the building, but excessive smoke prevented officers from re-entering the property.

Two men were found dead by fire service personnel a short time later.

They have been named locally as 37-year-old John Palmer, who is believed to be originally from Tallaght in Dublin, and 36-year-old Greg Lonergan who was from north Cork.

The bodies of both victims have been removed to the morgue at Cork University Hospital where post-mortem examination will be carried out.

There were four people in the apartment at the time of the fire, the man and woman who were rescued are in a serious condition in hospital. 

Around 20 firefighters from Mallow and Kanturk brought the blaze under control within minutes.

This is the second fire at the Granary Court complex within the past fortnight, but the incidents are not believed to be connected.

The apartment where the fire occurred was sealed-off and a technical examination was conducted.

Gardaí say results from this and from the post-mortem examinations will determine the course of their investigation.