FIRE RESCUE: Scots alumni breaks down door to save neighbour
AN elderly woman is recovering in hospital after Scots PGC College former student Alex Costello wheeled her from a ferocious house fire in Perth this week.
The Southern Downs man didn't hesitate when he heard his neighbour's screams, despite not knowing the woman "from a bar of soap.”
The back shed of the Hamilton Hill property caught fire due to a suspected electrical fault and quickly spread to the home, where Mr Costello reported flames over six metres high.
"We saw it from our living room window and ran straight around,” he said.
"We tried to do the right thing.”
The male resident, also in his 70s, and his son, had escaped the blaze but the woman remained trapped inside, unable to walk without assistance.
As Mr Costello approached the home he heard the blaze roaring, windows exploding and the sound of the washing machine being destroyed.
The threat of the flames loomed large, but Mr Costello said retrieving the woman was more important.
"There was a life at risk,” he said.
"You just have to go hammer and tong.”
Together with a group of younger men, Mr Costello tried in vain to break open the front door but found it was fused shut by heat.
Mr Costello, who said he was running on pure adrenaline, had never experienced anything like it.
"You just have to act in a situation like that,” he said.
"You can't sit back and let the house burn!”
As his neighbour continued to scream, Mr Costello and his friends located her down by the side of the home.
"We found her on the other side of the fence,” he said.
"We ran full-tilt at the fence and knocked it down.
"We got her out and took her into our house, where my girlfriend and housemate took care of her.”
Around 30 bystanders watched from the street as emergency service crews finally arrived to fight the blaze and take the woman to hospital for smoke inhalation.
As the son was unable to return to the house, he stayed at Mr Costello's home for another two days.
"I've never had to do anything like that before,” he said.
"It's something to be proud of, that you've saved a life.”