A FATHER of three has died after trying to rescue a dog and cat from a house fire.
The man, 61-year-old John Ernest Ryder, was rescued from the burning building but was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police and other emergency services arrived at the house on Stone House Lane, Peckforton, shortly before 3.30pm on Monday.
When crews arrived fire was coming out of all first floor windows at the front and from ground floor windows at the back of the house.
Parts of the first floor collapsed because of the severity of the blaze and fire crews have confirmed that a labrador dog and a cat died in the fire.
Station manager Martin Dowle, who attended the incident, said: “This is a tragic incident and we have a fire investigation team working at this property to establish the cause.
“The firefighters who were first on the scene faced a difficult incident with flames coming from the front and rear of the property.
“Fortunately we were able to prevent the fire from spreading to the house next door.”
Neighbours say that Mr Ryder, who was retired and lived at the house with his wife Pamela and their three children, was at home alone when the fire broke out and that he had tried to go back into the house to rescue the dog.
The emergency services were called by a neighbour who was alerted to the fire by the sound of breaking glass.
“I looked out of the window and saw the ground floor window had smashed and there was smoke everywhere,” he said.
“It is such a shock. The family had lived there for a number of years and we knew them well.”
Investigations are now in the hands of the coroner.