THE police major investigation team has been called in following the death of a woman in her early 20s in a house fire.
Witnesses said they heard the woman screaming for help as the blaze tore through the mid-terrace property. Smoke billowed from the house, before the door was blown off its hinges and the glass shattered.
Neighbours said they believed the woman was seven-months pregnant, although police were unable to confirmed this last night.
Forensic investigators were yesterday combing the house, in Manchester Road, Hapton, for clues about how the fire started.
A door in a forensics’ bag along with other bagged items were taken away for examination.
Police said the death of the woman, who was named locally as Rosie, was ‘unexplained’.
A body was removed from the property at around 3pm yesterday and a post mortem examination was due to be carried out last night.
The force major investigation team usually deals with cases including murder, manslaughter, kidnap, extortion and stranger rape.
Neighbours laid tributes to the woman outside the house, which has since been boarded up following the blaze, which started at 11.15pm on Sunday.
It is understood she had lived in the street for just a few months.
One resident said: “My brother said he had heard banging and then her screaming and that’s when he called the emergency services.
“It’s just shocking that a young girl could die like this.”
A woman who came to lay flowers said: “I just knew her as Rosie and I am so shocked.
“I didn’t know her very well, but I just had to come and pay my respects as she was so lovely.”
Another neighbour said: “When we heard the sirens, we just thought it was a chip pan fire and it would get dealt with in half an hour.
“Most of the street were out when I came outside. I could not believe how bad it was.
“I don’t know how the firefighters could go in, it was so intense.
“The flames were coming out of the windows.
"We waited and thought we would see a rescue, but nobody came out."
Her husband added: "It was just terrible. There were smoke and flames and the firefighters were just desperately searching the place."
Another neighbour added: “Rosie was just a really nice girl who kept herself to herself.
“It’s shocking this could happen to her.”
A spokesman for Lancashire Police said last night they had no information to suggest the woman was pregnant but were awaiting more details from a post mortem.
Three fire engines were called to put out the blaze, and nine firefighters made their way into the house to tackle the flames.
A spokesman for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said: “A serious fire occurred in Manchester Road on Sunday evening.
“Firefighters using breathing apparatus fought the fire from inside whilst searching for casualties.
“The cause is currently unknown and a joint investigation between Lancashire Fire and Rescue and Lancashire Police has been launched."