NEIGHBOURS SAVE WOMAN AND DOG FROM HOUSE FIRE
A GROUP of quickthinking neighbours rescued a woman from a burning two-storey townhouse on Sunday.
Paul McGrath had been at a birthday party at his mother’s house a block away when his family noticed smoke rising.
He become concerned when he realised it was coming from the roof tiles.
About 3.30pm Mr McGrath’s cousin called the fire brigade, while he, daughter Jessica and brother-in-law David Faulkner ran to the aid of the 31-year-old resident who was clinging to the outside balcony fence.
“She was just hanging there, crying and screaming,” Mr McGrath said. “I encouraged her to put her foot on my hand and we just brought her down from there.”
When the woman was safely on the ground she then began to worry about her dog still on the balcony.
“By that time someone had come around with a ladder,” Mr McGrath said.
Enter hero No. 4: Edward Wills.
“I was at home sitting on the lounge watching a movie,” Mr Wills said.
“I saw smoke and didn’t take much notice then 10 minutes later, I heard a person calling out ‘has anyone got a ladder?’.
“Then I went outside and realised a house was on fire. So I raced back inside because no one else had a ladder.”
Mr McGrath said the whole rescue took about two minutes. In hindsight he realised the risk he and his family took. “Now I think about it there could have been a possible gas explosion,” he said.
While he did not recommend civilians rushing towards a house on fire, Mt Druitt Fire Station Commander Daron Lesslie commended the bravery of the group.
“They took a lot of personal risk, but the lady was on the balcony and so was the dog” Commander Lesslie said.
“It’s dangerous but they didn’t know how long we were going to be. They did the right thing at the time.”
The woman is in a stable condition at Blacktown Hospital. Investigations are continuing into the cause of the fire.
Fire heroes Paul McGrath and brother-in-law David Faulkner and (inset) the Dharrukharruk townhouse on fire. Main picture: David Swift. Inset: Mt Druitt Fire Station