A teenage swimming star who ‘could have qualified for the next Olympics’ has died in a horrific house fire.
Former European junior champion Tazmin Pugh, 18, died alongside her boyfriend, Josh Kirk, 21, in the horror blaze at a converted rural property in Cotheridge, Worcestershire on Sunday evening.
The teenager held British junior records in the 50metre and 100metre butterfly, winning a silver medal when she represented Britain at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa in 2015 before giving up the sport last year.
Her old coach said she was a ‘fantastic swimmer’ and could have qualified for the Olympics had she continued to train.
Former European junior champion Tazmin Pugh, 18 (pictured) died in a house fire at a converted rural property in Cotheridge, Worcestershire on Sunday night
Tazmin (left) and her boyfriend (right) were killed in the fire in Worcestershire on Sunday night
Police and fire investigation officers are pictured at the scene of the tragic fire in Cotheridge today where the couple died
Before: The converted property off the road between Cotheridge and Broadwas in Worcestershire was severely damaged in the fire that killed the young couple
Ellesmere Titans coach John Pardoe said: ‘She was always a positive, enthusiastic, bubbly character.
‘She gave up a year ago but I have no doubt if she had carried on swimming she would have qualified for the next Olympics, she was a fantastic swimmer.’
The fire was first reported when paramedics in a passing ambulance spotted it burning as they went by just before 8pm.
Seven fire engines carrying 30 firefighters were scrambled to the property where crews found the pair inside, but nothing could be done to save them.
A cordon was in place at the house, not visible from the road that runs from Cotheridge to Broadwas on Monday, with fire investigators probing the source of the blaze.
Miss Pugh and Mr Kirk (pictured)’s social media pages have been flooded with tributes in the wake of their deaths on Sunda night
Miss Pugh is pictured in her competition days at the British Swimming Championships in Sheffield in April last year
Tazmin (pictured, left, and, right at 2015’s Commonwealth Youth Games) and her boyfriend died in a fire in Worcestershire on Sunday night
The swimmer (pictured) was inside the converted rural property when paramedics in a passing ambulance saw it on fire just before 8pm on Sunday
Josh Kirk, 21, (pictured) was also inside the converted rural property when it caught fire
Formal identification has not yet taken place and the cause of the fire is still unknown.
Social media was flooded with tributes to the star swimmer today.
Her team the Ellesmere Titans said in a statement: ‘No words can say what your Titans family are feeling. Thoughts are with everyone whose life you touched #RIPTaz.’
Pershore Swimming Club added: ‘With enormous shock and sorrow we heard today that Tazmin Pugh tragically died on Sunday.
‘There are no words to describe the horror of losing one so young. All at Pershore SC send their thoughts and prayers to her family & friends at this dreadful time. RIP Tazmin.’
Investigators are pictured at the rural property in Cotheridge, Worcestershire today, where the cause of the fire is still unknown
The champion swimmer and her boyfriend died in a fire on Sunday (pictured: emergency services at the scene)
The couple are pictured outside the converted property in Cotheridge, Worcestershire that was engulfed with flames over the weekend
Miss Pugh was a former pupil at Bowbrook House School, Abbey Park Middle and Pershore High School.
Her boyfriend was also remembered in tributes online, with one reading: ‘I honestly can’t believe it, Rest in peace Josh Kirk You will never be forgotten.’
Another added: ‘Goodbye Josh Kirk. You will be missed dearly as well as Tazmin. Rest in peace. We love you both.’
Detective Inspector Mark Roberts said: ‘We are leading a thorough investigation with the support of partners across a number of agencies.
‘At this stage we are unable to formally release the identity of the 21-year-old and 18-year-old who sadly died, but our thoughts remain with their families.
‘I want to reassure members of the local community that no one is being sought in connection with the incident and public safety is not a concern.’
A Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: ‘Fire investigation officers have been working with crews and SOCO from West Mercia Police throughout the night to make the property safe and establish the cause.’
‘This is a multi-agency incident and the thoughts of the HWFRS are with the families of the deceased.’
Pictured: Tazmin Pugh, 18, at a competition before she gave up her swimming career
The teenager is pictured wearing England colours during her time at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa in 2015