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A nine-year-old boy died yesterday in a house fire after helping to save his family. Sean Evans raised the alarm ensuring that his parents, two brothers and sister escaped before the blaze engulfed their end-of- terrace house in Beechwood, Birkenhead.

Firefighters said Sean was having breakfast with two other children in the lounge when they heard a noise and discovered the fire in the hallway. He closed the door on the other children to keep the fire at bay and rushed upstairs to alert his parents who were in bed. While the rest of the family escaped, Sean was apparently trapped by a "blowtorch" effect as the fire swept up the stairwell. Sean's parents and the other children, aged between six and eleven, were being treated at Arrowe Park Hospital, Wirral, for smoke inhalation and shock. Police and fire brigade experts were investigating the cause of the fire.