Two dead and five injured, including four children, after 'tragic' house fire

A man and a woman have died and five more, including four children, were injured in a tragic house fire, police said.

Firefighters were called to the property in Parsonage Road, Withington at 2.20am on Friday.

A man and a woman died at the scene and their next of kin have been informed but formal identification is yet to take place, Greater Manchester Police said.

Three girls and a boy, aged between 10 and 17, were taken to hospital alongside a man who is said to be in a serious condition.

Three girls and one boy are in hospital and another man is in a serious condition. Credit: PA

The cause of the blaze is due to be investigated jointly with Greater Manchester Police and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS).

Chief Superintendent Wasim Chaudhry of Greater Manchester Police paid tribute to the "great community spirit" of the residents in the street who helped to rescue some of the those trapped in the house.

He added, "without their assistance I'm sure the injuries to the occupants who are now in hospital and being treated there would have been far more serious".

Police say they are keeping an "open mind" with the cause of the fire and that it is "too early in the investigation" to rule out "a criminal aspect".

Detective Inspector Tony Lea of Greater Manchester Police said: "My thoughts are with the family of the man and woman after such a tragic incident and we have specially-trained officers supporting the family at this time."

He added: "We are continuing to work closely with GMFRS to establish exactly how this fire started and I urge anyone who may have witnessed the fire, or anyone in the area in the hours before the fire.

"If you have any information at all contact police as soon as possible so we can piece together what happened."

The cause of the fire is under investigation. Credit: ITV News

Neighbours said a "quiet and polite" Asian family lived at the detached house.

Emily Puckering, 22, said she was woken at about 2.30am by shouting and screaming from across the road.

She said: "I could just see the smoke at first. When I woke up I realised how severe it was. I could see the flames coming out of the windows.

"I could hear a woman, she was shouting and screaming. I'm assuming it was her house because I could hear her shouting to the fire brigade, 'Please save my house'.

"[The fire brigade] put the fire out quite quickly. The fire itself was massive, it was huge.

"It's heartbreaking, it's absolutely tragic. I just feel a bit shocked. I just feel absolutely awful for them, for the family, for the children, for them. I can't imagine anything worse at all."

A police forensics officer at the scene of the fire in Withington.

A second neighbour, who did not want to be named, said he was also woken by loud screaming and the desperate rescue attempts by locals before the fire service arrived.

The man said he ran to the back of the house to join another neighbour as firefighters arrived.

The teenager and other children were trapped upstairs at the back, he said.

"The 17-year-old jumped out first. She was on the floor screaming. She said my family are still inside."

Neighbours were telling the children who were still trapped upstairs to jump out of the window and that they would catch them.

The neighbour said the children could not be seen due to the heavy smoke.

"We got the four kids on the grass and neighbours came out making sure they were ok with water and blankets.

"They were traumatised, not speaking. Only the 17-year-old was still talking. She was just in agony.

The cause of the blaze is being investigated jointly with Greater Manchester Police and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service. Credit: PA

"We told the fire brigade they are still in the house in the top (front) bedroom and they need to get in there.

"So they went in and found one guy on the staircase, he was dragged out and there were two unaccounted for.

"We did as much as we could to save them. It was a really bad situation last night."

The neighbour who was first on the scene was also taken to hospital to receive treatment.

The fire service confirmed the fire started downstairs at the back of the house.

  • Anyone with information should contact police on 101 quoting incident number 140 10/02/17 or to remain anonymous, Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111.