County Monaghan plumber hailed as hero for saving woman from South Perth apartment block as fires continue to pummel Australia.
The quick thinking of a Monaghan town plumber, Oisin Loughlin (34) and his workmate, Jack Kelly, saw the two tradesmen save the life of a woman trapped in a burning apartment block in South Perth.
Leanne Winters was plucked from her burning apartment complex and what appears to have been an arson attack, amind an entire season of record-breaking wildfires in Australia. A suspect has been arrested and will appear in court.
Fire threatening #Balladonia motel on Eyre Highway, vital east-west road blocked— ?Jade & David for a Better Australia (@PerthWAustralia) January 2, 2020
bushfire is threatening people at the Balladonia Roadhouse in Western Australia's south-east, closing an important link road between #Perth and #Adelaide. https://t.co/3oxEMsJ1s7 pic.twitter.com/nNgeSd9iz9
Winters told the Irish Mirror "I thought I was going to die. Thanks for being good Samaritans and saving me."
Loughlin and Kelly were driving home from work when they noticed the smoke billowing from Winter's building.
The Monaghan plumber told the Mirro "It was crazy, within seconds I could see the flames shooting out the window.
"I pulled in and then heard a woman screaming from the balcony.
"I grabbed the ladder and just ran."
As if the fire wasn't enough, as Loughlin approached there was a gas explosion in the building, which threw huge flames out of the windows.
"I was trying to get her on the ladder but then the flames started shooting out of the patio behind her," Loughlin said.
"They were at her back. It was scary stuff."
He added that getting Winters on the ladder as black smoke billowed from the apartment was difficult.
"It was panic stations to be honest. You don't have time to think," Loughlin said.
"The woman was screaming and in shock."
Once the heroes had rescued the woman, they attempted to find the gas supple to stem the fire and stop it spreading to other apartment blocks close-by.
Loughlin added, "The fire brigade arrived and we had to leave because we were late for work at that stage."
The hero has been living and working in Australia for seven years. On the day of the fire, he celebrated his two year wedding anniversary with his Monaghan-born wife, Catherine O'Brien.
Australia has been suffering from an unprecedented season of fires and worryingly the hot summer weather is far from over. So far 17 people have lost their lives and 1,200 homes have been lost as 5.5 million hectares (13.5 million acres) of land has been burnt.
The fires have been fuelled by a killer combination of extreme heat (average temperatures of 41.9C), a prolonged drought and strong winds. This record-breakingly hot Australian summer comes after the driest spring the country has seen in 120 years.