A CORONER has paid tribute to the emergency services as she opened the inquests into the deaths of four children tragically killed in a house fire.

The blaze in Jackson Street, Walkde, on Monday, December 11 killed siblings Demi, aged 15, Brandon, aged eight, Lacie, aged seven, and Lia Pearson, aged three.

Jennifer Leeming, senior coroner for Manchester West, officially opened the inquest into their deaths at Bolton Coroners Court.

The preliminary cause of death in each case was given as 1A inhalation of the products of combustion.

Demi was pronounced dead at the scene of the fire, while Lacie and Louise both died at Salford Royal Hospital.

Lia died two days later at Royal Manchester Children's Hospital.

Their mother, Michelle, remains in a critical condition in hospital.

Mrs Leeming commended the firefighters who dealt with the incident, who were all from the Bolton area.

She said: "In opening these tragic cases, it seems to me that there is something more that I should say.

"I understand the children's mother is still in hospital. We send our good wishes and hopes for her recovery.

"I have attended Gold Command meetings held by Greater Manchester Police and attended by various agencies.

"It was very clear in these meetings that the fire service and officers involved in this case had acted with what can only be described as enormous courage and commitment.

"I understand the officers who attended the premises said the fire was well alight and recovered all of the children who sadly died.

"My understanding is that the firemen who attended wanted to give the children a chance.

"It seems to me that we should recognise and commend the courage of the officers who attended the this dreadful fire."

The inquests were adjourned until June 25 for a pre-inquest review.

Zak Bolland, Courtney Brierley and David Worrall were all charged with four counts of murder, three counts of attempted murder and one count of arson with intent to endanger life, in relation to the fire.