A DELIBERATE fire in a Dudley house has left one man dead.

The victim, who is in his 40s is believed to have started the blaze in Wood Street at 6.10pm, yesterday (Saturday).

There have also been reports of a gunshot at the property.

A 42-year-old woman and two boys aged nine and 15 escaped from the fire and taken to hospital before being discharged. Det Insp Simon Astle, from Force CID said: "This was a major fire, started deliberately, which has claimed a man's life and was so fierce that the property has been left in a dangerous state.

"A woman and her two sons, who we believe were known to the man, have been left badly traumatised by what has happened. Fortunately none were seriously injured.

"All three are being supported by specially trained officers and our investigation is well underway."

Wood Street was closed for around 10 hours and nearby properties were evacuated.

A West Midlands Police spokesman added: "House to house enquiries have been conducted and a number of witnesses spoken to. Officers stepped-up patrols in the area on Saturday night and throughout Sunday morning to reassure worried locals.

"Detectives are not looking for anybody else in connection with the fire which started well inside the house but anyone with information which may aid the ongoing investigation should call police on 101."