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Strong arm of the law saves priest from burning church

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30 Jan 2016
Firefighters believe the blaze started in the roof before spreading

Just after midnight, two police officers saved a priest from a burning church building by catching him as he jumped from a first floor balcony.

The officers had earlier noticed smoke from in the area in Tyler Street, Preston, and went to investigate. They found a two storey church residential building on fire and kicked in the front door only to be met by a wall of smoke.

A man could then be heard calling out from a first floor balcony and with no other exit available, the officers advised him to jump. With their arms linked, they managed to catch the man as he fell. Despite the three and a half metre drop, the priest walked away with neither a scratch nor a bruise. He was the only occupant of the building.

Over 20 MFB firefighters and six appliances tackled the blaze, which was believed to have started in the roof before spreading to bedrooms below. Crews wearing breathing apparatus managed to quickly control the fire despite the heavily smoke-logged conditions.

Damage has been estimated at $100,000 and MFB will remain on scene overnight. The cause of the fire is yet to be determined.

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