Friends and family have paid tribute to a NSW man who is believed to have suffered a heart attack while defending his Central Coast home from fire.
Walter Linder, a semi-retired draughtsman, died while fighting the blaze which stood to destroy his Lake Munmorah home.
Residents of the small NSW town said the 63-year-old was a respected member of the local arts community, describing his loss as "devastating".
"He would lay his life down for anybody," one neighbour told Nine News.
"He was just wonderful, he was the nicest guy and he is going to be missed a lot.
"He didn’t have a lot but he felt rich with the friends he had."
Mr Linder was found slumped over an old bathtub in the backyard of the property.
He was using buckets of water to try and fight the fire.
Neighbours described a chaotic scene as paramedics tried to save Mr Linder while fire crews battled spot fires around them.
"There I was, bawling my eyes out while trying to put a fire out," his neighbour and landlord, Martin Campbell said.
"It was just horrible."
Author: Chloe Ross, Approving editor: Matthew Henry