“I did not help them because they were Nepali” – Ashfield inferno hero Yam Dhital

By Ram Khatry, Sydney
9 December 2016


A reluctant hero who saved life of a four-year old child earlier in the week says he did not know the little victim’s parents were from Nepal, also the country of his origin, until after the inferno was brought under control by police and firefighters.

“I did not help them because they were Nepali. I did not know they were also from my country until the incident was all over,” said Yam Dhital who has been called a “hero” by grateful police officers in the inner west suburb of Ashfield. Mr Dhital’s bravery and quick action saved life of the toddler who was dangling from the second-storey unit at Cavill Avenue last Wednesday. Mr Dhital said he and his wife came out of their home around 2 am when they heard a faint “help help help!” from the desperate father of the child. He had seriously fractured his leg while attempting to jump off the window and “could not move, he was just crawling”.

Yam Dhital
The Hero Family: Yam Dhital, his wife Ganga Bhattarai and daughter Suesha Dhital I Photo: Supplied

The man was badly hurt and devastated to see his beloved child and wife up in the burning unit but there was nothing he could do, “He was calling out for help but he sounded as if he had no water in his mouth…he could not yell out out because his mouth was too dry.”

The “hero” says he would do the same for anyone in that condition. “I am a human being. I was just fulfilling my responsibility. I have nothing to do with someone being Nepali, Indian, Australian, Bengali or European. All are human. All have the same blood which is red. I was just practicing my religion as a human being,” Mr Dhital said in telephone conversation with southasia.com.au.

Television camera will be rolling on Saturday when the local hero goes to pay a visit to the family he saved earlier in the week. Tej Thapa is currently undergoing treatment at a Sydney hospital for his badly fractured leg. Although neighbours, the two Nepali families do not know each other.

Asked how he felt when he heard the approaching police and firetruck siren, the man from Nepal’s Chitwan district said he could not contain his happiness.

“I felt like …. so happy, I cannot explain in words,” he exclaimed, taken over by emotions even days after the incident. He had never experienced that sort of relief and happiness, he stated.

“My eyes were filled with tears of joy sir!” said the man, still taken over by raw emotions, “I felt so grateful when the police and emergency crew arrived because I was thinking the child has been saved but what would happen to the mother now? So when they arrived I was so relieved thinking they would do everything to save her life as well!”

It was Mr Dhital who initially called 000, he told southasia.com.au, and then he set out to do what he could to save lives until help arrived.

It was then that he “caught” the four year old after the mother dropped him into the arms of the unknown neighbour, catapulting Mr Dhital into the status of a hero.

He said police and firefighters were at the scene anywhere between six to seven minutes only.

We all know how professional and heroic men and women in various Australian polices forces are but for few police officers that early morning, Yam Dhital was the real-deal hero. There was one senior officer who apparently hugged him and told him he was a hero, quite repeatedly too. But he told officers that he was just doing what I had to do as a human being.

Mr Dhital said he was lucky that he could help because it all happened under a “high risk” environment.

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