Father dies in Wollongong house fire despite rescue efforts of neighbours


Updated

September 07, 2018 16:35:14

A house fire at Mount Warrigal south of Wollongong has resulted in the death of one man and left his son with severe injuries.

Emergency services were called to the property around 9pm Thursday night to find local residents surrounding the home.

Despite their best efforts an 84-year-old man could not be revived and died at the scene.

His 53-year-old son was airlifted to the Royal North Shore Hospital in a critical condition.

One of those potentially risking his life to help rescue the men was 17-year-old Ryan Shimwell.

“I was the first one on the scene knocking on the door trying to get him to wake up and that’s when I realised they are not waking up,” he said.

“I smashed a side window and got my mum to call emergency services,” Mr Shimwell said, however the teenager could not get inside the house.

“You could hear them saying ‘Help me, help me. I’m here, I’m here.”

Another neighbour James Thompson started hosing the home and said he kicked the back door in with a friend.

“We got the door in and walked in there and got about three steps in and the smoke was just too much,” Mr Thompson said.

Mr Thompson said he wet his jumper put it over his head and tried to go inside the house again but could not penetrate the smoke.

Emergency services arrived quickly

NSW Fire and Rescue Superintendent Graham Jarrett said the first fire crews to arrive on the scene managed to penetrate the smoke and search the home.

“We found two people unconscious inside. They were pulled out and we performed CPR until the arrival of the ambulance officers,” Superintendent Jarrett said.

“Unfortunately one person was deceased. The second person was taken to Sydney via helicopter.”

Police have paid tribute to the members of the public, fire fighters and police who risked their lives to enter the burning home.

Lake Illawarra Police District’s Acting Inspector Lee Ingmire said they saved a man’s life.

“When they [the public] attended their brave actions, as well as the emergency services, managed to save the live of one of those male persons,” she said.

Acting Inspector Ingmire said four police officers suffered smoke inhalation with one senior constable was taken to hospital and later released.

The 53-year-old surviving occupant remained in a critical condition on Friday afternoon.

A crime scene investigation is underway into the cause of the fire with a report to be prepared for the coroner.

Topics:

fires,

residential,

emergency-incidents,

home,

mount-warrigal-2528,

st-leonards-2065,

shellharbour-2529,

wollongong-2500

First posted

September 07, 2018 15:36:44



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