A teenage boy discovered his neighbour's house burning this morning after hearing what he thought was 'a load of fireworks'.
Oscar Cam, aged 17, woke up at around 3am after hearing what he thought were exploding fireworks.
When he looked outside he saw his neighbour's house engulfed in flames and alerted his mum and step-dad to the blaze.
Firefighters arrived at the blaze in Spout Lane, Stannington, and found a 17th century Grade II listed farmhouse burning.
The property was deemed too unsafe for them to initially enter to check whether anyone was trapped inside.
They found the body of a woman in her 90s close to a door.
Fire chiefs said another person is 'unaccounted for'.
The house was lived in by an elderly couple.
Oscar, who lives in the property closest to the farmhouse, said: "I woke up about 3am and I could hear this crackling sound, just like a bonfire. So I looked out of the window and could see this huge fire. It was really scary.
"I ran to wake my mum and step dad up because I was worried that the fire might spread to the trees and then set our house on fire.
"The noise of the fire was frightening. It was like a load of fireworks had been lit."