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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 April 2007, 15:30 GMT 16:30 UK
Arrest after sisters die in fire
A police officer lays flowers at the scene of the fire
Flowers have been handed to police officers to lay at the scene
A teenager has been arrested on suspicion of murder following the death of two young sisters in a house fire in South Tyneside.

The schoolgirls, aged 12 and 14, died at the house in Lisle Road, South Shields, early on Wednesday.

The girls' father suffered serious burns and is in a critical condition in hospital. Their mother was treated for less serious injuries.

Police arrested a 17-year-old male on Wednesday afternoon.

The victims have not yet been formally identified, but police said they are believed to be 14-year-old Tatum Spence, and her sister, Demi, 12.

Their father John Spence, 37, is in a critical condition at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary, and the mother, 37-year-old Anita Spence, has been released from hospital.

A post-mortem examination will take place on Thursday morning.

Officers are carrying out house to house enquiries in the area and a major incident room has been set up.


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