The group of five unidentified men from Emu Plains had finished up a night of drinking at the Penrith Panthers Leagues Club on Saturday, when they hopped on the club’s courtesy bus, driven by Craig Cochrane, to go home.
As the bus rolled down Ridgetop Drive in Glenmore Park, about 2.35am, the boys, aged between 18 and 20, noticed smoke rolling across the road in front of them.
“We slowed down and when we got to the house we could see the glow of the flames from inside the garage,” Craig told news.com.au.
“Before I could even stop the bus, the five young blokes were out like jack rabbits, running towards to the house.”
Inside the home, two couples and a young girl lay sleeping, completely oblivious to the danger building just outside.
Craig told news.com.au three of the boys, who are members of the Penrith Panthers club, started banging on the windows and doors, begging the occupants of the house to wake up and get out.
The other two boys were on their phones, calling triple-0 for help.
“I had parked the bus across the street and was honking my horn, we were trying to make as much noise as possible,” Craig said.
As the group worked to alert the family inside the house, they could see the fire was moving from inside the garage to the roof, and then across to the roof of the main house.
NEIGHBOURS HEARD YELLING
A neighbour, Sharon, told news.com.au she was also asleep at the time, but woke to the smell of smoke and the sound of young men, banging on the home’s doors and windows.
Each of the boys was in a blind panic, yelling frantically for the occupants, who had lived in the house for 20 years, to ‘get out of your house!’ and ‘you have to wake up, there’s a fire!’.
According to Sharon, the older woman was the first to hear the boys, but thought they were trying to break into her home.
“She actually closed her ensuite window, thinking they were being robbed, but then realised her house was on fire,” Sharon said.
“You could tell these guys were afraid for the family’s lives, the bashing and yelling was so intense.”
The woman woke up her husband, daughter, son and daughter-in-law, and they ran outside unscathed, moments before the flames engulfed the entire property.
The house was fully engulfed in flames in minutes, despite the heavy rainfall.
Witnesses reported hearing windows crack, car tyres pop and watching as thick black smoke billowed from the windows.
The family, who had made it safely outside, sat in an open garage across the street, huddled beneath a blanket, watching their home burn to the ground.
“It was absolutely devastating to watch, they lost everything,” Sharon said.
“All they had was the clothes on their back and a small box of possessions they managed to grab on the way out.”
FURTHER WARNINGS TO NEIGHBOURS
Emergency crews arrived within minutes and began fighting the flames, but Sharon said the boy’s work was far from over.
“They were telling everyone to get back from the scene because there were cars inside the garage that could explode,” Sharon said.
“They made sure everyone was OK, it was incredible.”
As the flames got bigger, and moved closer to neighbouring homes, the boys knocked on every door in the street to make sure people were awake and knew what was going on.
“They spoke to police, chatted to a few people, and then just snuck off into the night after they knew things were in order,” Sharon said.
‘FEARLESS AND BRAVE’
Craig said the young boys didn’t hesitate once and had demonstrated “fearlessness” despite the obvious danger.
“These guys never gave up, they kept going back to bang on the windows, even when the fire was growing bigger and closer,” he said.
NSW Police confirmed that inquiries are ongoing but the fire was not thought to be suspicious.
Sharon said she truly believed the young men saved five people’s lives.
“What they did to ensure these people got out alive is just amazing and they deserve recognition,” she said.
According to Craig, the boys were overwhelmed by the ordeal.
“We got back on the bus and had a chat, that’s when it started to hit them,” he said.
“If we hadn’t have been there, and they didn’t act the way they did, there wouldn’t have been anyone to wake that family up.”
“They could have stood back and said it was too dangerous, but they were prepared to do whatever it took to save these lives, and they did.”
Other people, not connected to the boys or the club were amazed by their bravery, claiming the act was “proof that there is still good in this world”.
Many comments said their “faith in humanity has been restored” by the story.
People took to social media to praise the men for their heroic efforts in a very dangerous situation.
Tracy Pangemanan describe the group as her “hero boys”, claiming they were at the scene and helped to get the family out of their burning home safely.
Do you know these brave young men? Let us know!