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Half of heroic Sydney father’s body burnt

June 6th, 2011 Australia


AAP

A 31-year-old man is being treated for serious burns to half his body after using it to shield his wife and toddler from a house fire.

Firefighters had to cut through bars outside a window to access the unit on Memorial Avenue in Liverpool, in southwest Sydney, shortly before 5am (AEST) on Monday, after a blaze started in the bedroom.

A Fire and Rescue NSW crew evacuated a 31-year-old man, his 27-year-old wife and their two-year-old son.

Superintendent Tom Cooper said the father’s back was badly burnt when he used his body to shield his wife and their young son from the flames as they made their way to the kitchen.

“He’s got very severe burns to 50 per cent of his body… at least second degree,” he told AAP.

“The command believes he was shielding his family from the fire.”

Firefighters had to cut through bars to access the unit because flames and smoke were blocking the door.

“Had it not been for their quick thinking, it would have been a different story,” Supt Cooper said.

The boy and his parents were initially taken to Liverpool Hospital in a serious but stable condition.

The man and woman were later transferred to Concord Hospital’s burns unit while the boy was taken to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

It’s believed he was treated for smoke inhalation.

A CityRail train driver on a meal break helped in the rescue by handing the boy to an ambulance crew after firefighters carried him down a ladder.

Six people, including two children, were evacuated from the unit above. An adult was treated in hospital for smoke inhalation, before being released.

A Liverpool Hospital spokeswoman said the adults were in a serious but stable condition.

Memorial Avenue was closed to traffic in both directions between Northumberland and Bathurst streets as emergency services continued working at the scene.

Investigations are continuing into the cause of the fire, including an examination of a collapsed ceiling in the unit.