Page last updated at 19:20 GMT, Saturday, 17 October 2009 20:20 UK

Two children die in a house fire


A woman has told of how neighbours tried to rescue family members from a fatal house fire

An eight-year-old boy and his 15-year-old sister have died after a house fire in Devon.

Emergency services were sent to the scene of the fire in Ellacombe Church Road, Torquay, at about 1030 BST.

Eyewitnesses reported the windows of the house being blown out and a black pillar of smoke filling the sky.

Neighbours helped three people from the house before fire crews arrived. Both children were taken to Torbay Hospital where they died of their injuries.

The three rescued family members have also been taken to hospital but it is not known whether they were injured.

'Traumatic event'

Group Commander Ray Harris said the ground floor of the house was well alight when crews arrived.

"It was extremely intense, with smoke and flames pouring out," he told BBC News.

"An extremely traumatic event has taken place with young people seriously injured.

"Our hearts go our to the family, friends and neighbours - this will affect the whole community."

Roads surrounding the area were closed off.

An employee at the nearby Sparkle laundrette said: "One minute the sky was blue then all of a sudden there was a thick black pillar of smoke filling the sky."

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service spokesman Paul Slavin said crews were continuing to dampen down the fire.

Fire investigators and police are trying to establish how the fire started, but Mr Slavin said early indications showed no smoke alarm had sounded in the house.

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