Residents praise man who rushed to save house from fire in Alfredton

RESIDENTS in Suffolk Court, which backs on to the vacant paddock consumed by fire in Alfredton on Tuesday, say they are thankful for the actions of a good Samaritan who rushed to help save their house.

Ballarat plumber Greg Quayle happened to be in the area when he saw the fire quickly take hold of the Cuthberts Road property and burn to within metres of homes.

Thinking quickly, he jumped a  fence of a resident who wasn’t home, picked up a garden hose and started fighting the fire as it crept towards the back fence.

A day later, the charred fence is a stark reminder of how quickly the fire moved across the bone-dry grass and began to threaten homes.

“From the time it started – we’re talking maybe five minutes max, maybe 10 – it was probably eight foot high,” Mr Quayle said.

“We were lucky that they were Colorbond fences and the grass was half-cut. It makes you stop and think.”

While he tried his best to help as the CFA arrived, Mr Quayle said not all of those on the scene were helpful and a few people weren’t even willing to lend him a garden hose. 

“There were people helping out but there were a lot standing around,” he said.

Resident Kelly Kosloff, who wasn’t home at the time of the fire, also thanked neighbour Samara Shimmin for helping her mother get her children out of the house in thick smoke.

“We got very lucky. If there was ever a perfect day (for a fire), this was it,” she said.

Ballarat police are still investigating the possibility that the Cuthberts Road fire was deliberately lit. It is the fifth suspicious fire near Alfredton this month. 

Detective Senior Constable Tony Euvrad said Ballarat police were employing extra resources to patrol the area to prevent any further fires being ignited.

“Police are appealing for witnesses to be vigilant and alert with any suspicious activity and to contact Crime Stoppers,” he said.

If you have any information, call Ballarat Police on 5336 6000 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

HELPING HANDS: Greg Quayle, Kelly Kosloff and Samara Shimmin survey the burnt area. PICTURE: DYLAN BURNS

HELPING HANDS: Greg Quayle, Kelly Kosloff and Samara Shimmin survey the burnt area. PICTURE: DYLAN BURNS