A Bellambi couple narrowly escaped a fiery fate thanks to an alert neighbour and the efforts of quick-thinking firefighters.
Fire and Rescue NSW crews from Corrimal and Bulli were called to a townhouse in Whitby Mews at 11.45pm on Wednesday after reports of a house fire.
Corrimal deputy station officer Paul Dorin said a neighbour had called triple-0 after hearing a smoke alarm blaring from inside the residence.
But when crews arrived they couldn’t see any sign of a fire and, unable to gain access to the property, walked through the neighbour’s home to reach the front door.
‘‘We looked through the kitchen window and saw smoke,’’ he said. ‘‘Because the lights and TV were on we knew someone could be home.’’
Retained firefighter Rob Vergano crashed through the front door to get inside the property.
‘‘There was a lady lying in the lounge so we picked her up and dragged her outside. When she came to she said that there was a fellow upstairs,’’ Mr Dorin said.
Mr Vergano ran upstairs and grabbed the man, who in his shocked state put up a struggle before he could be escorted to safety, Mr Dorin said.
Bulli firefighters entered the house, found the source of the smoke on the stove top and put out the fire.
Mr Dorin said the couple were ‘‘pretty shaken up’’ but, after being checked out by ambulance paramedics at the scene, were given the all-clear.
He praised the efforts of the alert neighbour and credited her actions for the happy outcome.
‘‘It was her vigilance that really saved the day,’’ Mr Dorin said.
‘‘It could have been a lot worse and the neighbours were really good calling triple-0 and being at the front to indicate where [the fire] was because there were no visual signs.’’