FIVE people were rescued from a house fire after flames and smoke engulfed their property in Farnworth.

The fire broke out at a house in Plodder Lane at around 10.45pm, with the blaze ripping through the kitchen, hallway, stairs and back bedrooms.

Two women were rescued by firecrews from upstairs, and a man and woman self rescued from the house.

One further man was rescued after a heroic neighbour braved the smoke logged building to climb into the downstairs room and carry him to safety.

Neighbours, hearing cries for help used a brick to smash through a window, before Geoffrey Davies, aged 55, went inside to pull a man in his 70s to safety.

He said: "My daughter shouted upstairs saying there was a fire across the road and she rang 999.

"I ran out and across the road because there was someone shouting in the room downstairs.

"I ran back into the house to get a hammer to smash the window, and when I got back someone had already smashed it with a brick.

"There was a guy shouting from inside and I got a torch to see where he was and then he stopped shouting.

"He seemed to go quiet and he was slumped in a chair at the side of the room and I could just see him with the light.

"I climbed through the window and took a deep breath and went in to pull the guy out."

Mr Davies managed to lift the man up and carry him through the window before laying him in a neighbour's garden where he "came around".

The fire brigade then arrived and rescued the two people trapped upstairs before putting out the fire and making the property safe.

The five residents, whose injuries are unknown at this time, and Mr Davies, who suffered from smoke inhalation, were taken to Royal Bolton Hospital for treatment.

Speaking about the fire, Mr Davies said: "I have never been in anything as hot as that. I can't describe how hot it was, it was an inferno.

"Considering the room was not on fire, it was filled with black smoke. I came out black from head to toe. 

"It was a big fire and it filled the property with black smoke. 

"It was at the back of the house and in the hall, and it looks as though the doors were shut and they must have had fire doors because the fire didn't come through into the room."

Another resident, Jay Hacking, aged 16 said: "I went to my window and the house opposite was all up in flames. There was fire coming out of the windows it was horrendous."

A GMFRS spokesman added: "The fire was that hot at one point that fire crews were struggling to go up the stairs."

The cause of the fire is not yet known, but an investigation has been launched by Greater Manchester Police and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service.

Police Crime Scene Investigators were on the scene this morning, and fire crews were also visiting nearby residents to carry out a reassurance campaign.

Farnworth Community Fire Station Watch Manager, Andy Hardman, said: "There was severe fire on the ground floor and a fire investigation is ongoing as we speak.

"The fire damage in the property is so severe that it will take a few hours to find a cause but it looks like the fire was in the kitchen.

"We urge people to have smoke alarms to give themselves a warning of fire, and our crews will be in the area this week to offer safety checks and safe and well visits."

Speaking about his heroic rescue Mr Davies said: "You don't think about it when you do it. It's just one of those things, you don't know you would do it until it happens."

Mr Davies, a father and mechanic, also said he would like to thank the other people who helped him with the rescue.