WITHOUT hesitation Nathan Constable ran into the flames that engulfed his elderly neighbour’s home.
Now, he’s been recognised with a Bravery Medal at the Australian Bravery Awards.
It was around 6:30pm on May 4, 2015, which by serendipitous chance falls on International Firefighters Day, when Mr Constable realised his neighbour’s home was ablaze.
“I heard a knock on the door, it was a lady from down the street yelling, ‘Laurie’s house is one fire!’, I jumped over the balcony and sprinted down the grass strip to their house,” Mr Constable said.
“All the windows were shattering, the fire was pouring out the windows onto the roof.
“I didn’t really realise what I was doing at the time.”
Running through the front door, Mr Constable was met with smoke and intense flames as he searched desperately for the elderly couple who babysat him as a child.
Inside, he yelled out to Edna, aged in her 80s, through smoke so thick he could only hear her.
Eventually he found her, suffering from smoke inhalation and bewildered as he helped her outside.
In the backyard, flames engulfed the rear of the house where the late Laurie, Edna’s husband, tried in vain to douse the inferno with a garden hose.
Grabbing Laurie, Mr Constable led him to safety at the front of the house and reunited him with his wife, both had suffered burns and smoke inhalation during the terrifying ordeal.
Then, just for good measure, he ran back in for a third time to save their dog, too.
“I knew it was dangerous but there was no way I could have left them in there,” he said.
Just 18 Bravery Medals were given out at the national awards on Monday.
Mr Constable sits among Australia’s most courageous, including a man who saved two children from their father, who had poured petrol all over them in Western Australia and two surfers who saved another from a shark attack in Ballina.
Now a father of two, his heroic efforts still get brought up at family barbecues, he said.
“When I think about it, it still sounds extreme,” he said.
“I think about my kids and my family and I hope my kids would do the same thing.
“I feel really good for helping them out but I don’t see it as a hero thing, if it wasn’t me it would have been the bloke around the road who would have done the same thing - I think I was just the first one there.”
Sent to hospital to spend the night for smoke inhalation, Mr Constable went back to his elderly neighbour’s home the next day to help salvage what they could.
“I feel really good for helping them out,” he said.
“I’m glad I am the person I am and feel you should always help people out no matter what.”
The Australian Bravery Awards were announced by the Governor-General Peter Cosgrove and will be awarded around Australia in the coming months.