FANNED by gale force winds, a fire ripped through the lower floor of a house on Soho Street on Wednesday afternoon, occupied by an elderly man.
The frail man was rescued by Greg Coombes-Pearce a quick thinking neighbour, who pulled him out of the burning house. He was later taken to Cooma hospital suffering from smoke inhalation after being treated at the scene by Fire and Rescue NSW crews.
The fire started at 2.30pm and is believed to have begun in grass and bushes in the reserve behind the house at number three Soho Street.
Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) worked to put out the fire that destroyed the lower story of the house and called for back up from the Rural Fire Service when it became apparent that another property, a shed, further up Soho Street was also on fire.
The fire engulfed the shed destroying a car and other property.
The fire service had conducted a hazard reduction burn in the area only a few weeks ago.
FRNSW Cooma captain Chris Reeks said the cause of the fire was not known, but appeared to have started in some grass and bushes in the reserve behind the house.
"The fire got into the lower three rooms of the house," Captain Reeks said.
"The smoke was so thick you couldn't see your hand in front of your face.
"We worked on getting the hoses in there and searched the house for any occupants.
"Fortunately a local resident helped and got the elderly man out, and we treated him with oxygen until the ambulance got there.
"Three RFS trucks went into the reserve, which stopped the fire spreading to other houses in the street."
Captain Reeks said the damage was restricted to one house, not three as reported in some media, and one garage with a car and contents.
"All things considered, we did well, it was a good result."