NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) —  A fire inside a Chinatown apartment is believed to have been set to cover up an apparent double homicide, officials said.

When firefighters arrived at the building at 83 Henry Street at 10:40 a.m. they thought they were responding to a routine fire call in a first-floor rear apartment, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported.

1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reports

Instead, firefighters discovered something far more violent, Kramer reported.

“We went in, we extinguished what was relatively a minor fire involving a mattress and some floor boards,” Commander James Esposito said. “We pulled out what we thought were two people overcome by smoke but it turned out they probably sustained some type of gunshot wound or wounds.”

The two Asian women, who are believed to be in their 40s or 50s, were both shot in the head, police confirmed with 1010 WINS.

Two fires had been set in the apartment; one in the kitchen and another in the bedroom, firefighters said .

The investigation is ongoing.