AN INVESTIGATION has been launched into the cause of a fire which has left a woman seriously ill in hospital.
Her pet dog, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, was rescued from the fire, but later had to be put down by a vet.
Emergency services were called to the end terraced house in Burns Avenue, Atherton, shortly before 12.45am on Tuesday and found Donna McCarrick near a phone box hundreds of yards from her home after she had somehow escaped from the blazing building.
Firefighters entered the house even though fire had spread throughout the ground floor to rescue the dog. They gave it first aid and it was taken to a veterinary surgery, but later had to be put down.
Ms McCarrick, who is thought to be in her 40s, was taken by ambulance to the Royal Bolton Hospital suffering from severe burns and smoke inhalation.
She was later transferred to the burns unit at Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester where she remains in a serious condition.
The scene is less than a mile from Atherton fire station and the blaze was extinguished before it could spread to adjoining houses.
Station Manager Geoff Thornley said: “Thankfully, neighbours were alerted to the fire through a smoke alarm installed at the property.
“Over the next couple of days we will be in the area offering reassurance and free smoke alarms, highlight fire safety in the home and offer free Home Fire Risk Assessments.”
A joint fire and police investigation is now under way to establish the cause of the blaze and anyone with information is asked to call police on 0161 872 5050.
Anyone in Greater Manchester with concerns about fire safety in their home can arrange a free Home Fire Risk Assessment by calling freephone: 0800 555 815 or by visiting www.manchesterfire.gov.uk