A 71-year-old woman is understood to have been inside an Inverness home when it caught fire in the early hours of this morning.
Emergency services were called to the property in the city’s Island Bank Road at around 1.55am this morning.
A fire spokeswoman said at its height, four appliance were on scene and firefighters wore breathing apparatus while using high powered hoses to extinguish the blaze.
An investigation is being carried out this morning.
Nearby residents were evacuated by police as a safety precaution and returned to their homes at about 4am.
Police have since confirmed that a 71-year-old woman who lived in the house is currently unaccounted for. Initial inquiries suggest she was within the home at the time of the fire.
Her next of kin are aware and efforts are ongoing to confirm the circumstances. No one else suffered serious injury.
Detective Inspector Steven Mackenzie said: “Our inquiries are at a very early stage. However, our initial inquiries suggest that an occupant was within the property at the time of the fire.
“Due to the extensive structural damage, gaining entry to the building is likely to take some time. Structural engineers will assess the building and advise when it will be safe to enter.
“Inquiries are continuing with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to establish the full circumstances. I would like to thank local residents for their co-operation while these inquiries are ongoing.
“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of those involved.”