The body of a woman has been found at the scene of a collapsed house in Bury, Greater Manchester.
Emergency services were called just before 9.30pm on Wednesday, after reports that a house had collapsed in Summerseat, a village in Ramsbottom.
Three people were treated at the scene by paramedics for minor injuries, while a woman and child were also taken to hospital with minor injuries.
The cause of the collapse has not yet been established. A spokesperson for Greater Manchester police (GMP) said: “Officers responding to reports of a collapsed house in Ramsbottom have sadly found the body of a woman.
“Five properties were evacuated as a precaution and a small scene remains in place. Inquiries are ongoing to establish the circumstances surrounding this incident.”
One local resident told the Manchester Evening News they believed the collapse was the result of an explosion, and assisted emergency services in evacuating residents.
They said: “It was a loud bang. I got as far as the water pump and emergency services were already on scene. I thought there was going to be another explosion and that’s why we needed to evacuate.
“I was allowed through and started to clear every building up to the football pitch to get them down to the garden centre. We then got residents back to their own property once it was safe.”
Greater Manchester fire and rescue service said it had dispatched three fire engines and a number of support units to the scene.
A joint investigation is under way between Greater Manchester police, Greater Manchester fire rescue service and Bury local authority partners to establish the circumstances of the incident.
Steve Wilcock, the incident commander at the scene on behalf of Greater Manchester fire and rescue service (GMFRS), said: “I want to first pass on my condolences to the family and friends of the woman who tragically lost her life at this incident – our thoughts are with them at what must be an incredibly sad and difficult time.
“Given the nature of this scene I must also praise the professionalism and dedication of the firefighters who have worked here all night in the driving rain, as well as throughout the morning. An investigation is now under way so it would not be appropriate to speculate at this time on a probable cause.
“It’s also important to place on record our appreciation for the help and cooperation of local people. Summerseat is a close-knit community and there has been an outpouring of support, with many neighbours offering their homes to those evacuated from roughly 20 houses last night. I am proud to serve this community and GMFRS, GMP, Bury council and other partner agencies will continue to work really hard today to do the best by local people without compromising the scene.”