Saved from inferno as home gutted

AFTERMATH: The South Albury building after the fire. Picture: MARK JESSER
AFTERMATH: The South Albury building after the fire. Picture: MARK JESSER

A MAN has been pulled from the window of a burning factory in South Albury moments before the building was destroyed.

Shane Sard was taken to hospital with burns and smoke inhalation after the incident, which occurred in Atkins Street about 6.50am on Sunday.

His sister Rachael has thanked Daniel Whichelo for saving her brother’s life.

Mr Whichelo owns a shed at the back of the factory and had stayed there on Saturday night when weather conditions prevented him from riding home.

The building, which Mr Sard uses as a home, was gutted.

“I am just grateful for him saving his life,” Ms Sard said.

“Another minute longer and it probably would have ended badly.

INJURED: Shane Sard

INJURED: Shane Sard

“He seems to be okay.

“He’s being treated for minor burns and smoke inhalation.”

The fire caused about $500,000 damage.

A late model car and a motorbike were destroyed, along with a tiling business located at the rear of the building.

Mr Whichelo said Mr Sard had been collapsing as he was pulled out.

“I stayed there the night and woke up to the fire,” he said.

“By the time I came out it was blazing.”

A team of 27 firefighters attended the property and spent 90 minutes extinguishing the fire.

Fire and Rescue NSW Inspector Stewart Alexander said battling the blaze had been “complex”.

“There were a lot of compartments inside the building,” he said.

“There were office spaces and storage areas and a shipping container out the back.

The cause of the fire is yet to be determined and it is unclear if the fire is being treated as suspicious. 

BLAZE: Smoke slowly pours from the building.

BLAZE: Smoke slowly pours from the building.

The structure was left dangerously unstable after the blaze, with only a single steel beam believed to have been holding up the building. 

Mr Alexander said the most intense part of the fire was at the front of the building. 

“That doesn’t necessarily mean that it started there,” he said. 

“That may have just been where the biggest fuel load was.

“It’s under investigation.” 

Several bystanders took photos of the fire and aftermath. 

Images show flames erupting from the front of the property and through the roof. 

Mr Sard was recovering in Albury Hospital on Sunday after the incident. 

He has lived at the South Albury property for many years. 

His sister was certain the quick actions of Mr Whichelo had saved her brother’s life and said she was incredibly grateful.