Bolton house fire: Three die in 'suspicious' blaze

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Media captionA joint police and fire investigation is under way to find out the cause of the blaze

A house fire which killed three people in Bolton is being treated as "suspicious" by police.

The fire started at a house on Albert Road West, Heaton, in the early hours. An elderly woman was taken to hospital suffering from burns and died later.

After the house was searched two bodies were found in the kitchen - where the fire is believed to have started.

Police said the cause was "suspicious" but they were not looking for anyone in connection with the fire.

Officers from the Greater Manchester Police (GMP) Major Incident Team are now leading the inquiry.

'Tremendously upsetting'

A middle-aged couple who lived at the house have been named locally as Mani and Mona Hassan. It is also believed an elderly relative was staying with them.

A GMP spokesman said a formal identification was yet to take place and next of kin are yet to be informed, though the family are believed to be originally from Iran.

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Media captionCh Supt Dave Hull said the focus of the investigation was to establish the cause of the blaze

Post-mortem examinations are due to take place to try to establish how they died.

Divisional Commander Ch Supt Dave Hull said: "Three people have tragically lost their lives and our thoughts are with their loved ones at this time.

"We have launched a joint investigation with the fire service and experts from both agencies will be working together to find out what happened and why.

"I do not want to second guess or prejudice the outcome of these investigations, but in the interests of absolute transparency want to make it clear that we are treating these deaths as suspicious and are not looking for anyone in connection with the fire at this time."

Ch Supt Hull said the force had received no information of any threat to the family.

Fire officer Peter O'Reilly said the fire is likely to have started in the kitchen but spread to most of the rest of the house.

The woman who was rescued but later died was found in the upstairs of the property, he said.

Neighbour Maria Taylor, who witnessed the rescue effort, said a family of four lived in the house.

"It was tremendously upsetting because you don't think this sort of thing happens on your doorstep," she said.

"They were a loving family. They kept themselves to themselves quite a lot, but they were such a lovely family and that's what is so hard to cope with."

Bolton's mayor Colin Shaw lives on the same road and said he was woken by police at 03:15 GMT.

He said: "At that stage we understood it to be one fatality, but I'm absolutely shocked that it's three fatalities.

"Our condolences go to the rest of the family."

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