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SMOKE alarms saved the lives of a young family say fire chiefs, after a house caught fire last night.

A man and woman with two children had a dramatic escape when their home in Roman way, Thatcham, went up in flames at around 10.40pm.

Officers from Newbury and Hungerford fire stations and a control unit and aerial appliance from Dee Road rushed to the scene and spent two hours battling the blaze, which started in a first floor bedroom of the semi-detatched house.

The father, who helped his partner and two children escape, was treated for minor injuries by paramedics.

Newbury fire station's watch manager, Phil Knight, said: "The father was downstairs and heard the smoke alarms going off and got his children out of the house. It showed the importance of smoke alarms."