Neighbour’s daring rescue

A Caroline Springs home caught fire in the evening of January 1.

Liam McNally

Star Weekly is taking a look back at 2023. Here’s one of our biggest stories from last year.

The year got off to a dramatic start for Caroline Springs resident Jake Di Caprio, who heroically assisted in evacuating neighbours from a house fire, seconds before the roof of the building collapsed.

Mr Di Caprio said he was watching a movie upstairs at his home in Orrong Parade when he noticed a “whole heap” of smoke through his window at about 7pm.

He ran outside to see smoke pouring from the roof of the house across the road, and flames coming from the ducted cooling.

Mr Di Caprio said he “smashed through their back gate like a mad man” to alert the residents who were unaware of the danger.

He assisted three people to get out the front of the house, but once there an elderly gentleman was spotted on the top floor balcony.

Mr Dicaprio rushed back into the burning house, and got the man downstairs “no more than 40 seconds” before the roof of the top floor collapsed.

Mr Dicaprio put the rescue down to “good timing”.

“It was meant to be, I guess,” he said.

The residents of the house told Channel 7 that they couldn’t sleep the night after the incident because they were “so worried”.

“We’re so sad at the moment,” one said.

Within minutes 11 FRV and CFA vehicles arrived on the scene and spent approximately an hour getting the fire under control.

CFA Caroline Springs community safety co-ordinator Ryan Baker said the incident highlights the importance of servicing evaporative cooling units.

“People should maintain their air conditioners and evaporative coolers by ensuring the dust filters and vent outlets inside the properties are cleaned regularly, and have the units regularly serviced according to the manufacturer’s specifications,” he said.

The CFA recommends evaporative coolers be checked yearly to ensure optimal performance and reduce the risk of faults that could cause electrical fault or fire.