An elderly woman has died and houses evacuated following a gas leak in the Borders town of Hawick.
Paramedics were attending the 79-year-old’s two-storey terraced flat for a medical emergency when they were met with the fumes.
They alerted the fire brigade and called gas engineers to isolate the supply.
Ten people from nine nearby properties in the Fairhurst Drive area of Hawick, Roxburghshire, were also evacuated.
The emergency services were called to the town’s Burnfoot housing estate around 1.15 pm, but the 79-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene.
Firefighters set up a cordon while gas engineers worked to establish the source of the leak and to make the area safe.
A Scotia Gas Networks spokeswoman said the house had been made safe and residents had returned to their homes.
Neighbours said the pensioner’s cooker was being inspected as part of the investigation, but the exact cause of the woman’s death has yet to be established.
It is understood the gas may have come from her cooker after she collapsed from a medical condition.
The investigation will centre on whether she was overcome by fumes from a gas leak or whether she died from natural causes while in her kitchen.
One man, who lives nearby, said: ”A cordon was placed around the flat and people living in surrounding properties were evacuated.
“There was a strong smell of gas in the area and the elderly lady was found inside her flat but they could not revive her.
“Everyone around here is shocked at what has happened.”
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service confirmed a crew was asked to attend the scene to evacuate the area and help residents to safety.
She said: “They isolated the supply and a cordon was set up. The crew were on the scene for two hours before leaving the matter with the police.
“An investigation is ongoing into the cause of one fatality in one of the properties.”
A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said: “An elderly lady was found dead within a property in Fairhurst Drive. Inquiries are at an early stage and identification is being withheld until next of kin have been informed.
“The matter is under investigation and a report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal.”
She added that the exact cause of death was continuing to be investigated.
The cause of the gas leak is still yet to be established.
The Scotia Gas Networks spokeswoman added: “We were called out to a property in Hawick this afternoon by the emergency services.
“We were on site at 1.39pm and we capped off the internal supply at the gas meter.”
The Scottish Ambulance Service said it had attended a house where a patient had a medical condition and the alarm had been
raised after a strong smell of gas.
Councillor Stuart Marshall, who represents Hawick and Denholm, said he was “shocked” by the incident, and that it was a “very sad time” for the town of Hawick and its residents.
He said: “It’s very tragic and you can’t help but feel for the family. it’s something you never hear much of nowadays and I’m just absolutely stunned by it, to be honest.
“It’ll certainly shock the town, it’s a very sad time.
He added: “We’ll have to wait until more details come out.”
The accident comes after an elderly couple were taken to hospital after a gas leak caused their Stirlingshire home to explode in March.
Juanita Tuckey, 82, was lucky to survive when a gas explosion blew the roof off her bungalow in Whitecraig, East Lothian back in January.