Two people were taken to hospital after 80 residents were evacuated from an apartment block fire in Belfast.

The blaze broke out on the first floor of the building on Great Victoria Street in the early hours of this morning.

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service said the two people taken to hospital were suffering from smoke inhalation.

Eight fire appliances manned by 55 firefighters were involved in tackling the fire.

The rescue operation involved a search of six floors amid thick smoke.

A Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) spokesman said: "Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus extinguished the fire using firefighting jets and searched the six-floor premises. All 80 occupants were safely evacuated following extensive smoke spread.

"NIFRS worked alongside Northern Ireland Ambulance Service and Belfast City Council to relocate occupants to a nearby community centre until the incident was dealt with.

"The incident has now been scaled down and the cause of the fire remains under investigation".