A South Hedland resident has called on the community to “wake up” after a suspected deliberately lit fire nearly destroyed his property two weeks ago.
Chris Skelton was at work last Friday afternoon when his neighbour, Kylie Neylon, noticed a fire in the bushland over the back fence.
Mrs Neylon called Mr Skelton’s 18-year-old son Rangi, who was home with his 11-year-old sister Olivia at the time, and the pair fought the fire with hoses before emergency services arrived and extinguished the blaze.
Mr Skelton said his family were lucky to escape with just minor damage to the back fence.
“If it was a hot day with a bit of wind, it could have really taken off; there’s houses all around here that would have been in trouble,” he said.
“Whoever lit this fire is putting themselves and the community at risk. What will they do when they wake up one day and find out an old lady has died in a fire they lit for fun?”
Mr Skelton said he was eternally grateful to his neighbour for alerting his family and the authorities, and for helping to fight the fire.
Mrs Neylon said it was important to look out for your neighbours.
“I know Chris would have done the same thing for me, and it says a lot about keeping an eye out for your neighbours,” she said.
“If we weren’t home to spot it, God knows what would have happened to his house and ours. You’ve just got to look out for each other out here, you can’t afford not to.”
South Hedland police acting Senior Sergeant Phil Baskerville suspected the fire was deliberately lit. Police were investigating.