Casino girl saves brother from fire

By NERIDA BLOK

FIRE may have destroyed Rebecca Bradshaw's family home, but it was never going to take her three-year-old brother.

The young girl had already lost her father in 1997.

He died soon after a family friend's son was run over by a truck in front of their house. And she herself almost died in a near-drowning when aged four.

So a house fire was never going to stop Rebecca from saving her brother James' life last Saturday at Casino.

After leaping from a three-metre high window to escape flames, the 12-year-old Casino school student returned to rescue her brother who was still inside the burning house.

"I heard his scream so I went back in to get him," said Rebecca matter-offactly.

"I went to the door of his bedroom where the mattress was on fire.

"Everything started exploding all down the hallway."

The heat singed her hair and arms as she carried James to safety.

"He was pretty freaked out," she said.

"All I was thinking was to make sure he was safe. It was pretty easy."

Yesterday Rebecca, whose family is living temporarily at a Casino caravan park, resolutely denied she was a hero.

"Anybody would do it," she said.

But is she now James' favourite sibling.

"His brother Amon used to be his favourite," she said.

"But we asked him this morning and he said I was. So I think he knows."

According to her mother, Annette, Rebecca's mature handling of the desperate situation was probably due to her having experienced so many previous family tragedies.

"She's been through a lot. We all have," she said.

"After the things we've been through, losing a house was nothing.

"I'm just glad they got out, and I'm very proud of her."

Keeping positive about the future, Rebecca said she was looking forward to buying new things.

"Well, you gotta look on the bright side," she said.

Overwhelmed by the community support, Annette said the Department of Housing were searching for more permanent accommodation, and the Casino Community Church had donated clothing, food and toys.



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