A FIRE station boss has hailed his crew's bravery and professionalism during the most tragic incident he has witnessed in 16 years of service.
Mark Alderson, manager at Hyndburn station, recalled with deep sadness the "horrendous" events of Wednesday 1 November, when a fire took the lives of the Riaz family at Tremellen Street.
And yesterday (Thurs) he spoke of his pride in the firefighters who broke down the front door at around 2am and battled against the flames and thick smoke in a vain attempt to save Caneze Riaz, 39, her husband Mohammed, 49 and their children Sayrah, 16, Sophia, 15, Alicia, 10 and Hannah, three.
Mr Alderson said: "I am extremely proud of the way the crews handled this horrendous incident and the way they dealt with it.
"Unfortunately we couldn't prevent this tragic loss of life, it was too severe a fire. The crews did all that they could."
He added: "They acted in an extremely professional manner, extinguishing the flames as quickly as possible with modern fire fighting techniques such as high pressure hose reels and ventilation fans.
"The work was carried out very effectively to try and deal with an absolutely terrible incident."
Fire crews from Great Harwood and Blackburn also attended the blaze, with Mr Alderson, a firefighter in the area for 16 years, arriving on the scene at around 3am.
"He said the fire at Tremellen Street was possibly the biggest ever loss of life in a domestic fire incident in Lancashire.
"It is certainly the worst I have ever seen in my career," he said.
Mr Alderson also spoke of the effects such a traumatic incident could have on the firefighters who attended.
"It was a very serious incident and will have a big impact on them, but we have support mechanisms to help the crews through this very difficult time," he said.
"This is not an easy situation for them to deal with but it is our job."
He added: "Obviously the fire service would like to send their condolences to the family and friends of the Riaz family at this sad time."