The fire service on Saturday was conducting an investigation into the circumstances that led to the death on Friday night of a firefighter and the woman he was trying to save.

Matthaios Mantzios, 33, was dispatched with his crew to extinguish a blaze in a plumbing appliance store on the ground floor of an apartment block in Palaio Faliro, on Athens’s southern coast.

The fire had spread up the building, enveloping the residents of the two apartments above.

A 44-year-old mother of two became trapped in the flames on the second floor when Mantzios entered the apartment in an attempt to rescue her.

Both died in their attempt to escape.

An elderly woman living on the first floor of the building was safely evacuated.