A woman is in hospital after leaping for her life from the bedroom window of a blazing house.
The casualty, a widow in her mid-40s, was taken to the Royal Preston Hospital following the fire in The Boulevard in Frenchwood last night.
Five fire crews dashed to the scene of the blaze after reports that the woman’s 18-year-old daughter might be trapped inside the burning building.
But, after a search involving 10 firefighters wearing breathing apparatus, no-one else was found in the house. The teenager was later traced to a relative’s house nearby.
Specialist fire investigators are trying to determine the cause of the blaze, which gutted the rented semi-detached property. So far it is being officially classified as “unknown.”
Landlord David Gooding, who drove up from his home in Derby early today to examine the damage, was prevented from even entering the garden by police at the scene.
“I think they’re waiting for the fire investigators to have a look at it first before anyone is allowed in,” he said. “I don’t even know if it’s safe to go in there.
“This used to be our family home when I worked in the area at BAE Systems. But we moved when I got a job at Rolls Royce in Derby and I’ve been renting it out since then.
“The tenant is an Asian lady, probably in her mid-forties. She lives there with her 18-year-old daughter.
“Thankfully no-one has died here. It looks to have been quite a severe fire, but I won’t know any more until I can get inside.”
A neighbour added: “We were on our way home last night when we saw a big commotion, with fire engines and an ambulance in the street.
“It was quite a bad fire, although we didn’t see it at its height.
“A bloke across the road said the lady had to climb out of a bedroom window and jump. He said she looked to be in a bad way.”
Watch manager Barry Hornsby, from Preston Fire Station, said: “We got the call about 8.45 last night and there were reports of persons trapped. So we sent an engine from here, Bamber Bridge and Penwortham.
“As we were going down London Road we could see smoke drifting over the road. When we arrived at the scene we found a fully developed fire in a semi-detached house. Flames were coming out of a bottom floor window.
“One lady had got out of the building. All the indications are she jumped from an upstairs bedroom window.
“There were concerns that her daughter was still inside so I sent in four breathing apparatus teams to search the property.
“Because of the seriousness of the fire two more emgines were brought in from Bamber Bridge and Fulwood and we eventually had 10 firefighters with breathing apparatus searching the building.
“We were searching for probably three quarters of an hour, if not more, to try and find the woman’s daughter. Thankfully she was located nearby, having gone to a family member’s house. She was fine.
“An investigation was carried out last night by a specialist officer into what caused the fire and we will be returning to the scene today to have another good look at it.
“At the moment the cause is unknown. The house is quite severely damaged. It was one of the worst we have seen for a long time, it was so severe that the plaster came off the walls.
“Paramedics dealt with the woman casualty and she was taken to hospital, although we don’t know how serious her injuries are.”