A YOUNG family escaped from a house fire after an early morning dog walker knocked on their door to wake them up.

The blaze started in a metal outhouse at the rear of the property in Hill Lane, Blackrod, at 4.20am on Saturday.

But the flames then spread to the house, damaging the back door and cracking an upstairs bedroom window, where inside, the couple’s four-year-old daughter was sleeping.

The family had returned home at around 2am on Saturday — after watching the England World Cup football match at a friend’s house. They had all gone to sleep and the next thing woke to hear banging at the door.

A man told the family ‘Your house is on fire!’ The woman ran back upstairs and grabbed her daughter and the family fled the house.”

The fire service is now investigating how the fire started.

Watch manager Craig Lunt of Horwich fire station said: “It is lucky that someone came along and alerted the family because there were no working smoke alarms.”

The drainpipes, fascia boards and guttering were also damaged in the blaze.

Firefighters were at the scene for around two hours.

Mr Lunt said the fire service carried out a fire risk assessment of the property and fitted new smoke alarms.

The service provides free safety checks to any household which requires them.

A police spokesman confirmed officers were aware of the incident. Any witnesses are asked to call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

steven.thompson@the boltonnews.co.uk