A WOMAN died in a house fire in Cuddington on Friday - the fourth in the Northwich area in a month.
The body of mum-of-two Helen Ullyart was found at her home in Mayfield Drive, Cuddington.
A man was also left fighting for his life following a blaze at Wincham hours earlier. Firefighters rescued 43-year-old David Burton from a burning bungalow in Linnards Lane, Wincham. He suffered severe burns and is in the burns unit at Wythenshawe Hospital.
The fatality comes six days after a fire in Lindsay Walk, Cuddington, killed Christopher Burridge, 36, and seriously injured his dad, Nigel, who tried to rescue him. Mr Burridge senior's condition is said to be improving, though he is still in the burns unit at Whiston Hospital, Liverpool.
Friday's blazes brought the tally of fatalities in the Northwich area to four in just over a month - compared to none in the whole of Cheshire for the previous 12 months.
That figure has alarmed fire chiefs who held a top level meeting on Monday to launch a major fire prevention initiative aimed at getting smoke alarms fitted in every home.
Mrs Ullyart's body was discovered in the kitchen of her home at around 4.20pm.
She is believed to have been in the house on her own at the time, and police say she was lighting a cigarette over the gas stove when her hair caught fire. An investigation has been launched into the circumstances surrounding her death, while neighbours refused to talk about what had happened.
The fire at the bungalow in Wincham completely gutted the premises and left Mr Burton with severe burns. Firefighters found him trapped in the bedroom and carried him to safety.
Joe Blake, who lives opposite the bungalow, helped raise the alarm. 'I saw smoke coming out from the back of the bungalow. At first I thought David must be having a bonfire but a lad went round the back.
'The back door was blown open and the their pet dog jumped out. Smoke was soaring through the roof.'
Mr Burton's mother Sylvia was out at the time and is now staying with friends.