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A hero dad was left with a broken skull after saving his neighbour from an axe attack.
Russell Irwin, from Melbourne, Australia, was roasting some marshmallows with his family when he heard terrified screams coming from his neighbour's home on Monday evening (1 February).
The 41-year-old rushed over to see what was going on and found that three men carrying an axe, a machete and a gun had raided her property.
After seeing the dad-of-three, the intruders turned on him, with one striking him across the head with the axe, fracturing his skull.
According to witnesses, the three men had demanded money, but after Mr Irwin became involved they quickly fled.
Speaking to Nine News about the horrific ordeal, a relative of Mr Irwin said: "It could've killed him... left three kids without a dad... us without an uncle. It's disgusting.
"I honestly think if it wasn't for him she probably wouldn't be around."
Detective Senior Constable Alex Fiore praised Mr Irwin for his quick thinking and sheer bravery after putting his life in danger to help a neighbour.
He said: "An innocent man was just in the backyard with his family and has come to the aid of a neighbour, and unfortunately been attacked himself.
"The victim is extremely brave. I know the occupants of this address are very grateful for his involvement."
He added: "Police are investigating whether the home invasion was targeted or an isolated incident.
"We think there may be a relationship but we're not sure."
Police say the assailants remain at large after having reportedly escaped through some gardens, heading off in the direction of Lawless Drive.
Officers are now investigating whether one of the men who was chased off by a neighbour had made their getaway in a blue Mitsubishi or a silver SUV vehicle.
Police are urging anyone who may have witnessed the incident or have any information relating to it to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report it online.
Thankfully, the woman involved had a neighbour like Mr Irwin to come to her rescue.
Another neighbour was recently praised for her heroic efforts after she saved the lives of a couple and their four children when their home went up in flames.
Seeing smoke billowing out of her neighbour's home on New Year's day, Carolyn Palisch, from Avondale, Arizona, raced over to see what was going on.
And her quick thinking, which was caught on the property's doorbell camera, saw her save the lives of six people.
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