POLICE and firefighters are investigating after a Hampshire woman died following a fire at her home.

The 56-year-old victim was rescued from her flat in Redlands Lane, Fareham, and was given emergency first aid at the scene but died later in hospital.

The woman, named locally as Anita, lived alone in a ground-floor flat at Minden House, a three-storey blocked owned by the borough council.

A passer-by heard a smoke alarm going off just before midnight on Wednesday and alerted the emergency services.

A council spokesman said the occupant was taken to the Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, with life-threatening injuries, but added that none of other flats had to be evacuated.

Police officers investigating the fire spent part of yesterday carrying out house-to-house inquiries in the area.

A man living at Minden House said: “I was asleep when the fire broke out and was woken up by all the noise and commotion.

“Anita has lived there ever since I moved in, which was about three years ago.

“I don’t think she was always in the best frame of mind but kept herself to herself and never caused any trouble.”

Locals said the victim had lived alone since the death of her boyfriend.

One woman told the Daily Echo: “If it was nice weather and I was gardening out the front she’d either come over for a chat or pop her head out of the window.

“She was friendly to me because I was friendly to her. We also had the same politics.”

A neighbour added: “I can’t believe what’s happened - it’s terrible. She had an elderly mother who must be absolutely heartbroken.”

Crews from three fire stations - Fareham, Cosham and Portchester - spent more than 90 minutes at the property.

A Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: “We attended and forced entry to the flat. A woman was found inside and was taken to hospital but died a short time later.

“The cause of the fire remains under investigation.”

A South Central Ambulance Service spokesman added: “We were notified by Hampshire Fire Control at 00.16 yesterday and sent two ambulances and two rapid response vehicles to the scene.

“An adult female was taken to hospital in a life-threatening condition.”

A woman living opposite Minden House said: “The woman who died always had her light on. I will miss her light.”

Call Hampshire police on 101, quoting incident reference number 44180012704.