JUST 360 seconds after the call came in, firefighters had pulled the four members of the Mohammed family from the blaze.

Their swift actions are credited with saving the lives of Mr and Mrs Mohammed's youngest children.

Blackburn watch manager Chris Fogarty said: "It's one of the worst I've seen, quite a scene of carnage really.”

The emergency call came into the fire station at around 1.30am. Mr Fogarty and 10 firefighters from Blackburn station could see the smoke billowing across the sky as they headed to the scene.

Mr Fogarty said: “It was a serious fire inside. The front door was actually burning on the outside.

"There had been attempts by the public to rescue the family inside. The front window had been broken and a gentleman had lacerations to his leg.

“We had to break down and force entry through the front door, but that was where the fire was at its worst. It was blocking their exit and at the same time blocking our access into the property.”

The teams split into two and tried to get in through the back of the house.

A special ventilation unit was used to try and extract the heat and smoke, creating a 'corridor of clean air', but a raging inferno in the hallway was sending 'flashover' flames licking up the carpet on the stairs.

In the face of such extreme conditions, all four members of the Mohammed family were pulled out of the house within two minutes of fire crews first arriving.

Mr Fogarty believes that the two children had made their way from a back bedroom into the front parents' bedroom, with the teenage daughter suffering serious arm burns protecting her face in that short journey across the landing.

When his team went into the smoke-logged bedroom they discovered Ayesha Mohammed closest to the window, Abdullah halfway across the room. His son was next to him, sheltering down the side of the bed and the couple's daughter close to the door, which was ajar.

Mr Fogarty said: "They weren't breathing. The girl was brought out first, then the boy. Both were lifeless and unconscious.

"It gives you an idea of how close the children were to death as well.

“I think Abdullah had been stood up in the smoke for some time. He'd managed to open the bedroom window to get some fresh oxygen in, but in doing that had taken very large lungfuls of smoke.”

With every second counting, the two children were sent off in the only ambulance so fire officers gave Ayesha, who had stopped breathing, CPR.

Other crew members had to go in without breathing apparatus to help lift Abdullah down the stairs. But he was pronounced dead at 2.30am.

Through the emergency first aid Ayesha was resuscitated. She lost her fight for life one week later from brain injuries.

Mr Fogarty said the sheer heat of the fire melted a gas pipe causing a leak to add to the complications, and burned the plaster off the walls.