Michael Penningh rescued his neighbour from her burning home.
Michael Penningh rescued his neighbour from her burning home. Mike Knott BUN160718RESCUE1

Neighbour saves woman from burning unit

SMASHING windows and billowing smoke caught the attention of one North Bundaberg resident on Saturday night whose fast thinking saved the life of a trapped tenant.

Michael Penningh lives next door to the unit complex and responded quickly to the situation after flames caught his wife's eye at the dinner table.

"I saw the fire here and then I rang 000,” Mr Penningh said.

"I ran around to wake (the neighbours) up, and got the hose but the hose didn't work.

"I didn't even know if (the tenant) was there.”

Mr Penningh tried numerous times to get into the home and was eventually able to battle the heat, smoke and fumes to rescue the woman inside.

"I opened the door and the heat and the smoke just came out and hit me, I couldn't get in,” he said.

"As soon as I opened the door I could hear her calling for help. I tried a couple of times but I couldn't see anything, it was that dark.

"I stood outside for a while to wait for the smoke to clear and I thought I'd put my beanie over my face, and as I got down low I could see a light in the corner, and then could make out her outline on the floor.

"Her head was facing me so I ran in and pulled her out by the arm and when I got her to the door my wife helped me carry her on to the yard.”

The good Samaritan said it looked as though the fire had started in a back room but he couldn't be sure.

"When I ran in to get her I could see a bright light through the crack of a door, and there were no flames in the room she was in,” he said.

"None of her clothes were burnt, and she looked to be okay. She just had a blackened face and hands from the smoke, but one of the ambulance men said she had pretty bad burns to one of her hands so I'm not sure.

"Apparently she'll be in hospital for a week.”

Mr Penningh said his time in the army helped him to assess the dangers and respond quickly.

"That's army training you see, you just go,” he said.

"Anybody else would have done it.”

The duplex's fire wall prevented flames from spreading into neighbouring residences.

Police are treating the fire as suspicious. Investigations to determine the cause continue.



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