Last November, as homeowners and neighbors flee from the raging flames of a wildfire that was consuming nearby homes, Western Australia resident Peter Fabrici grabbed an oxygen tank and stayed behind to defend his house. As the raging fires drew closer, the brave 53-year-old was forced to dive beneath the waters of his neighbor’s garden pool to escape the searing heat.
[image_border img=”http://www.ripleys.com/weird/files/2012/03/peterFabrici.png” caption=”” pos=”right” border=”true” buffer=”true” /]Before making the gutsy decision to stay behind and protect his house from the wildfire, Fabrici had made sure his wife was safe and far from the dangers of the approaching flames. Covered in non-combustible clothes, and using a home-made oxygen device put together from a Scuba tank attached to a small trolley, he went about fire proofing the house by putting rags in the gutters and sprinklers on the roof.
Eventually, the flames got too close for comfort and forced Fabrici to seek protection by plunging deep into his neighbor’s pool where he waited for about five minutes before checking if the coast was clear – a decision that saved his life.
“I stuck my head up at the end of the lap pool, I had a direct view of our house and I was just absolutely amazed. There were no flames coming from it,’ Mr Fabrici said, adding that he feels lucky to be alive.”
More than 60 fire crews from nearby towns and local volunteer bushfire brigades raced to the area and two fixed-wing water-bombing aircraft were also deployed to fight the fires.
The brushfire destroyed at least 34 houses and vacation homes in the popular tourist region in Western Australia. Ironically, it was a controlled burn-off of vegetation to prevent mid-summer fires that was being blamed for the out-of-control blaze.