Firefighters had to smash their way into a burning flat to pull an unconscious woman out.
Neighbours reported seeing smoke coming from the first floor home in Barry Avenue, Ingol, at 4pm yesterday, 1and three fire crews from Preston arrived within minutes.
Eye witnesses reported it took several minutes for firefighters to enter the building, because of an outward-opening, locked door.
Station manager Shaun Walton said: “When we arrived at the property, the crews faced a developing fire, it was very smoke logged, and we were told that someone might be inside.
“We had to force entry, and four firefighters went in with breathing apparatus, hose reel jets and fans to locate the woman.
“We quickly found her in the bedroom and at that point she was unconscious, so we picked her up and carried her down the stairs.
“We then gave her some first aid and oxygen, and she began drifting in and out of consciousness.”
Eye witnesses said the woman, thought to be in her 30s, had sustained burn injuries to her throat, and tried to speak to another woman as she was taken into an ambulance.
Neighbours, who gathered around the cordoned-off Community Gateway property, said that police had been seen at the damaged flat several times in the past 12 months.
One neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: “People around here have heard that the bed was on fire and that the dog had been tied up outside.”
Mr Walton added: “The fire was very severe and the flat is not in an inhabitable state.
“A joint investigation is now underway between the fire service and the police, to establish the cause of the fire.”