Sparky’s pluck saves family from fire

Men of substance: Bravery award recipients Daniel Rebbechi and Zac O'Leary-Barlow. Picture: Marcus Whisson d417294
Men of substance: Bravery award recipients Daniel Rebbechi and Zac O'Leary-Barlow. Picture: Marcus Whisson d417294

The Bennett Springs resident has been nominated for a commendation for brave conduct in the Royal Life Saving WA Bravery Awards.

He assisted Daniel Rebbechi, from Dianella, who has been nominated for considerable bravery.

On the night of March 26, 2011, Mr O’Leary-Barlow heard glass breaking and initially thought his car was being broken into.

Hearing a woman scream, Mr O’Leary-Barlow went outside and saw flames and thick smoke coming from an adjacent unit on Camden Street.

Seeing that the front room appeared to on fire he went to the side gate where he met Mr Rebbechi, who had also come to help.

The two men went to the house’s courtyard, where Mr O’Leary-Barlow grabbed a chair and smashed a window.

He yelled into the room as he climbed on to the window sill but was forced back by the heat and smoke.

When a boy appeared near the window, Mr O’Leary-Barlow grabbed hold of his arm and, with help from Mr Rebbechi, lifted him outside.

Hearing the boy’s mother screaming, Mr Rebbechi climbed into the house through the window, crawled on the ground to avoid the thick smoke and found the woman semi-conscious.

He managed to pull her to the window and tried to get her out with the assistance of Mr O’Leary-Barlow.

Fire fighters then arrived and lifted the woman through the window to safety.

Mr O’Leary-Barlow (29) was modest about his deeds.

‘I don’t think I’m a hero because I like to think it is something everyone would do in that situation,’ he said.

‘I was pretty composed and I am an apprentice electrician, so I just tried to make a well conducted risk assessment of the situation.

‘I feel honoured and privileged to have been given the opportunity to help.’