TWO families were lucky to escape unhurt after a major blaze ripped through their adjoining homes in Hibson Road, Nelson, tearing down the roof as it spread through the Victorian terrace.
The family living in the worst-hit property, Mr Riaz Ahmad, his wife Zarina Begum and their four children, were only alerted to the fire when their neighbour, Ghazala, rushed round.
Mr Ahmad’s daughter, 26-year-old Samina Riaz, said: “It’s terrible, all our life’s in there, but luckily it’s the spare room where the roof had caved in and no-one was in there.”
Scores of people from surrounding homes and nearby streets looked on in dismay as black smoke filled the air on Sunday lunchtime.
Family and friends of the fire victims provided them with blankets and drinks.
Nick Clough, from Lancashire Fire and Rescue, said: “We got called out around 11-30 a.m. to a fire in the bathroom which is round the back. We haven’t a clue how it started. It is unusual for a fire to start in a bathroom. It was a very severe fire.
“Half of East Lancashire (fire service) was here. The trouble is that fires can spread quickly along these properties. Two houses were severely damaged and the third has smoke and water damage.”
Hibson Road and Netherfield Road was closed in both directions for most of the day between the Beaufort Street and Railway Street junctions, and traffic was diverted around the scene.
The cause of the fire is still being investigated but it is believed to be down to a faulty immersion heater.
More on this story in tomorrow’s Express