A MAN has died in a house fire in Manchester Road.
Firefighters rescued the man from inside the house after they were called at about 6pm this evening, but he later died in hospital.
Neighbours said the terraced house was vacant but that somebody had been squatting inside.
The downstairs area of the house, where the fire is understood to have started, has been destroyed, while there is severe smoke damage to the upstairs.
The man, believed to be in his mid-40s, was found collapsed in a bedroom upstairs.
He was showing no signs of life when firefighters rescued him and he was pronounced dead shortly afterwards in hospital.
The house is opposite Orlando Bridge, next door to Foster's hair salon in Manchester Road, near Lever Grove.
Both the salon and the house on the other side filled with smoke but firefighters have managed to ventilate both properties.
Police, who were also at the scene, say they have a good idea who the man is, but have not yet formally identified him.
They are in the process of trying to contact the man’s next of kin but have so far been unsuccessful.
Police and the fire service are still investigating the cause of the fire, and said they are unable to confirm whether or not it was an arson attack.
It is believed that the damage to the house is so bad that it has been impossible so far to determine how the fire started.
A co-ordinated investigation involving police and the fire service will begin at 9am tomorrow morning, according to fire station manager Wayne Guffogg.
He praised the two firefighters who first entered the house after they were struck down with heat exhaustion.
"Smoke was billowing out when members of the public called in," said Mr Guffogg.
"It was going well when we arrived and the blunt nature of the heat was intense.
"The two firefighters who entered the property initially and pulled the male casualty out did a great job in very difficult conditions.
"They had to be treated for heat exhaustion which shows how severe this was.
"Our crews have extinguished the fire which has caused significant damage to the property."
A large part of Manchester Road was closed while emergency services dealt with the incident, but both lanes have now reopened.
Fire crews from Bolton Central, Bolton North and Farnworth attended, and police tape was put up around the scene as investigations were carried out.
Technicians from Electricity North West and the National Grid have been to the house to confirm that power supplies are isolated.
A fire service spokesman said: “We are now waiting to establish what caused the fire. The property is severely damaged so it will take some time to establish a cause.”
In reaction to the fatal blaze, fire crews will be patrolling the area around Manchester Road on the morning of January 30, offering fire safety advice.