Hero tradie stops potential arsonist from blowing up petrol station

Brendan Roberts

A quick-thinking tradesman risked his life to stop a man from potentially blowing up petrol bowsers with a cigarette lighter in Melbourne's west.

The hero sprung into action when he saw a potential disaster unfolding at a St Albans a service station at 5pm last Wednesday.

CCTV footage shows a man walking up to service station bowser.

He picks up the fuel pump, and holding a cigarette lighter in his right hand, tries to set the bowser alight.

CCTV footage shows a man holding a fuel pump in one hand and a cigarette lighter in the other as he tries to set the bowser alight. Picture: 7 News

When it fails to ignite, he angrily throws the pump onto the ground and moves to another.

A tradesman spots him on his second attempt, and launches into action.

The good Samaritan pulls a fire extinguisher from the front of the bowser, walks up to the man and douses him with fire retardent foam.

He then chases the offender away from the service station in a haze of foam.

The tradie chases the would-be arsonist and douses him with fire retardent foam. Pictures: 7 News

The 30-year-old hero, who doesn't want to be named, said he believed the man's intent was to kill or injure bystanders.

"It looked like he was trying to burn the place down," he told 7 News.

"If he had have lit the petrol, I imagine most of us probably would have died or been pretty severely injured."

While the would-be arsonist was forced out of the service station, he remained nearby.

That is, before the tradie launched a second counter attack.

"He was still standing over the fence outside the 7-Eleven, so I ran over and gave him another couple of sprays," the man said.

He said he tried to report the incident to two different police stations, but was told they were too short-staffed at the time to take a statement.

He later reported it to a third, in Melbourne's north west, but the tradie said the response he received was inadequate.

The man tried to report the incident to three different police stations, but he said he was told officers were too understaffed to take his statement. Picture: 7 News

"I think [the potential arsonist] is a risk to the public and I do think it needs to be followed up on.

"And I just don't think the response I got from that particular officer - not against the station or the force in general - that particular officer, wasn't adequate."

Police told 7 News they would not be investigating the incident as nobody was injured and no damage was reported.