A 61-YEAR-OLD woman died in a house collapse in Ramsbottom.

Emergency services were called to Summerseat at approximately 9.20pm on Wednesday evening to reports of an explosion.

Response teams discovered the body of the woman inside the house.

The woman has yet to be formally identified but police believe they know who she is due to her address and her family are being supported.

Three people were treated by paramedics at the scene while a woman and child were taken to hospital with minor injuries, but they were later discharged.

Nearby residents were evacuated, with many being able to return home by Thursday afternoon, although those living on East View remained evacuated for safety.

The cause of the explosion remains unknown and a joint investigation is underway between Greater Manchester Police, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, Bury Council and Cadent Gas.

At a press conference, Chief Inspector Jamie Collins of Bury Police said:"Response teams sadly found the body of a woman inside the collapsed house.

"While she hasn't been formally identified, we believe we know who she is based on this address and initial enquiries. We are supporting her family at this time.

"Three people were treated at the scene by a paramedics, and a woman and a child were also taken to hospital for treatment for minor injuries.

"Approximately 13 surrounding houses were evacuated to ensure the safety of those residents but most of those have returned safely to their homes with only those living on the immediate street staying evacuated as a precaution.

"A joint investigation is currently underway between GMP, GMFRS, Cadent Gas and Bury Local Authority Partners.

"We are keeping an open mind in regards the circumstances surrounding the incident and enquiries are ongoing.

"The gas supply in the immediate area has been isolated as a further precaution whilst enquiries are carried out at the scene.

"Our thoughts are very much with the woman's family, as they come to terms with their loss and we would really like to thank the local community for their support today."

Asked when the residents of East View would be allowed to return to their homes, inspector Collins added: "There's an investigation happening at the moment obviously conducting an examination of the scene and more should come to light when that's been done, and hopefully look to move residents back into their houses."

This evening, a Bury Council spokesman said: "The area has been secured and the cordon will be staffed overnight to support residents and protect properties.

"Multi-agency investigations will continue on Friday.

"Phone 0161 253 5353 if you've been affected and need support."