Police are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding a serious house fire in Inverness, which has left a 71-year-old woman unaccounted for.
Emergency services were called to the blaze at the city’s Island Bank Road shortly before 2am on Friday.
Police said initial inquiries suggested she was inside her bungalow at the time of the blaze, but the force provided no official update over the weekend.
Yesterday, a neighbour said she was too upset to speak about the incident because she was “very close” to the woman concerned.
Local couple, Geraldine and Stephen Connach, said they did not know the woman, but witnessed police and forensics officers wearing white suits entering the property over the weekend from their penthouse apartment which overlooks it.
Mr Connach added: “They were also pulling debris out of the house and putting it into a skip.
“It looks as though they had to get scaffolding up to secure the chimney before police could go inside.”
Yesterday afternoon, a single police car remained at the scene, parked on the driveway close to the house.
Emergency services were called to the fire on Island Bank Road shortly before 2am on Friday.
Neighbouring residents were evacuated by police amid fears that the flames could spread.
The woman’s next of kin have been made aware and efforts are ongoing to confirm the circumstances.
No one else was injured in the fire.
The roof of the bungalow hom was completely destroyed, and the blackened interiors of each room reflected the scale of the fire.
At its height, four appliances were on scene and firefighters wore breathing apparatus while using high-powered hoses to extinguish the blaze.
Inverness Central ward councillor Bet McAllister said on Friday that she was told by firefighters the house went up in flames very quickly and that, by the time they arrived, the roof had caved in.
Both councillor McAllister and fellow ward councillor, Janet Campbell, offered their condolences to the woman’s family.