TWO Glen Innes men have been recognised for their bravery, after they went above and beyond to rescue a couple in a horrific car accident.
Glen Innes Volunteer Rescue Association deputy captain Graham Pagden and squad member Harley Wallis were awarded a bravery commendation by the governor general at an announcement yesterday..
It follows their heroic efforts to pull a couple out of a car that had crashed on the New England Highway just a few kilometres out of town on June 16 last year.
The rescue association was called, along with other emergency services to the accident after the car left the road, struck a power pole that snapped in half and brought down power lines, before it came to rest in a paddock.
The live wires sparked a fire about 100 metres away.
Mr Wallis knew it was going to be a tough job.
“We were half way there and we got a call and were told the power lines were down and one person was still trapped,” he said.
“About one kilometre away we saw a plume of smoke rising.” Mr Pagden lived just nearby and was on scene within minutes.
“By the time [other emergency services] arrived the fire was burning pretty ferociously and straight at the car,” Mr Pagden said.
“I jumped the fence and I was able to assist the lady out of the driver’s seat and got her to the back of the car.
“I was able to free the male passenger and drag him out of the vehicle and basically as we got him out the flames virtually hit us.”
The flames took hold of the car immediately and the passengers were saved in the nick of time.
“I dragged him up to the back of the car and it’s about the time the flames hit us,” he said.
“Harley basically arrived with a fire extinguisher and discharged that and then two ambulance officers arrived and they were able to cut the fence and get the two people through the fence.”
It’s an accident Harley Wallis won’t forget.
He’d seen a fiery fatal not long before, so that’s why he sprung into action.
“I basically didn’t want to see that happen again,” Mr Wallis said.
“In training they always teach us to go in in pairs.
“Never let someone go in on their own, so that’s what I did, I followed Graham.”
But Mr Pagden has been quick to play down their efforts.
“There’s no room for heroes in rescue and this was more just because of circumstances,” he said.
“We work as a team and we don’t take risks, but this one required risks to be taken.”
Both men say they still don’t know who nominated them, although there is some suspicions it was some of the emergency service colleagues.
They’ve both paid tribute to their VRA colleagues and family and the support they receive to do the job.
They’ll be presented with their Commendation for Bravery Conduct award at a later date.