By Rowan Forster
A Pakenham business owner has been hailed a hero after he vaulted an electric fence and tried to douse a house fire with his football jumper before alerting the sleeping family inside.
Ross Jansz, from Pakenham Automatics, was driving home from AFL training at 9.20pm on Wednesday night when he caught a glimpse of the Ballarto Road inferno – believed to be the result of an arson attack.
Startled, he jumped from his vehicle and clamoured over a high-voltage fence to access the property.
“I took my footy jumper off and started hitting the fire, trying to put it out,” he told the Gazette.
“I went to run around the back of the house, but it was getting bigger.”
Mr Jansz then tried to use a door matt to waft the flames, but to no avail.
Four occupants – a 49-year-old man, a 45-year-old woman and two children were sound asleep inside the property.
“I wasn’t sure if someone was inside so I started banging on the windows as loud as I possibly could – and then I saw a light turn on,” he said.
According to fire rescue crews, the residents escaped just prior to the blaze inundating the home.
The family were extremely shaken as they surveyed the damage.
In a bizarre twist, police executed a raid on a Holsteiner Terrace, Clyde North on Friday morning and arrested a 46-year-old woman in relation to the incident.
“They were shocked and scared and the dad actually started crying,” Mr Jansz said.
Despite his brave feat, Mr Jansz remained humble about the ordeal.
“It’s not a big deal, you just do what you’ve got to do to help out,” he said.
Authorities suspected the occupants’ lives would have been in jeopardy if Mr Jansz arrived 15 minutes later.
Another witness, who watched the chaos unfold, said the fire engulfed much of the home in a matter of minutes.
“It was quite scary to watch, not knowing what to do,” she said.
“Thankfully the guy from Pakenham Automatics got there when he did.”
Police confirmed investigations into the incident are ongoing.
Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.