A teenager risked his life to save his family from a blaze which tore through their home.

Fifteen-year-old Lee Hutchinson was woken when the fire broke out in his loft bedroom.

He ran through the flames from room to room, first rousing his younger brothers and sister and leading them safely downstairs.

Then, his skin scorched by the heat, he went to his mother and step-father's room, giving them vital extra seconds to escape before flames engulfed the first floor of their home in Stanley Road, Wick, Littlehampton.

Lee, a GCSE student at Littlehampton Community School, has been under sedation in intensive care at a specialist burns unit in Salisbury for the three days since the fire as surgeons treat his injuries.

His mother Jill has kept a vigil at his bedside, where he lies in a critical but stable condition.

His grateful family contacted The Argus so when he wakes up, he knows he's a hero.

Ashley Beddows, his step- father, said: "Lee woke up and found the fire and alerted everyone in the house. We were all asleep and he got the little ones up and quickly out. He was burned when he came down to our room.

"He's been a brave lad and he saved his family from a lot worse. We feel really proud of him.

"Lee is a brave boy usually and very sensible. It's very much in his character to think of others.

"I wanted something to go in The Argus so he has something to keep. I wanted him to see that he saved his family."

While most of the family's belongings have been destroyed, his step-father has decided the first item they replace will be Lee's treasured guitar, which he saved up for with money from his paper round and part-time restaurant job.

Mr Beddows said: "We're not worried about the other things we've lost at the moment."

Mr Beddows and the couple's other children, Chrissie, nine, John, 13, and Max, ten, are staying with his wife's parents.

Steve Wilkey, Lee's PE teacher and head of house, said: "Lee is a really likeable boy who is very popular with his peers and staff.

"All his friends are very concerned about him and this has hit them quite severely."