AN ELDERLY man is in a critical condition after a fire in Westhoughton.

Emergency services were called to a house on Leigh Road shortly before 7pm last night after nearby residents reported hearing an "explosion".

Fire engines, ambulances, police and an air ambulance were spotted on scene, with at least 20 firefighters present for around two hours fighting to bring the blaze under control.

Police are currently working alongside fire investigators to establish the cause of the fire.

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: "Shortly after 6.50pm yesterday evening, police were called to Leigh Road, Westhoughton in Bolton to reports of a fire at a property.

"An elderly man was taken to hospital in a critical condition.

"Investigation work is ongoing with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service.

"Anyone with information should call police on 101, quoting incident number 2427 of 06/07/20. Reports can also be made anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."

GMP closed the road, with Transport for Greater Manchester confirming that Leigh Road had reopened shortly before 7.30am.

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue added: “At around 6:50 pm on Monday July 6, four fire engines and specialist support vehicles from Bolton Central, Atherton, Leigh, Hindley and Rochdale fire stations were called to reports of a fire at a terraced domestic property on Leigh Road, Westhoughton.

“Crews extinguished the fire using three hose reels and six breathing apparatus. Firefighters were in attendance at the scene for around two hours.”