SALUTE TO HEROISM
Bravery: Selfless actions during dangerous blaze earn honour
MARK Denne had no regard for his safety when he rushed into a burning house in Whalan to save the occupants. Five years later, that selfless action has been rewarded.
This week, Mr Denne was named a recipient of a Governor-General’s Commendation for Brave Conduct.
On February 5, 2011, Mr Denne saw a plume of smoke coming from the house next door and realised it was on fire.
Without considering the threat to his own life, Mr Denne sprang into action. He vaulted the fence and rushed inside as flames engulfed the house, to help escort three people to safety.
FORMER Whalan resident Mark Denne will receive a Commendation for Brave Conduct from the Governor-General for saving the Urguhart family from a burning house in Whalan in 2011.
Mr Denne, 47, was living in a granny flat behind his parents’ house, in Salamaua Rd, at the time of the incident.
At 11pm on February 4, 2011, Mr Denne smelt something burning, but he put it down to residue from his work as a supervisor at a large chemical destruction company, which involved industrial fire training.
“But then I couldn’t go to sleep – I was feeling edgy,” Mr Denne said.
In the early hours, he heard a sound he knew was a real fire.
“At 5am, I heard a pop ... I looked up and saw a mushroom cloud that was 20m or so high,” Mr Denne said.
That is when the adrenalin of the moment took over.
Mr Denne jumped up and yelled out “so half of Mt Druitt knew there was a fire”, and then launched himself over the fence.
He saw the garage was on fire and had leapt into the kitchen, which had flames pouring out through the roof.
“Don’t ask me how, but I kicked the back door in,” Mr Denne said.
“It must have been adrenalin ’ cause I’m not a big fella.”
He headed in, and helped the three occupants escape.
“I found one on his knees in the hallway and pulled him right out the front,” Mr Denne said.
“Another guy was just getting out of bed in a daze.
“I got the other guy out and they said, ‘ there is another lady in there’.
“She was in her bedroom with the door shut and was
At 5am, I heard a pop ... I looked up and saw a mushroom cloud that was 20m or so high
lucky she was nowhere near the fire, but the whole house was full of smoke by then.”
Mr Denne said he was “very lucky” to be in the right place at the right time.
“I don’t really deserve an award – I’m just helping someone out,” he said.
Governor-General Peter Cosgrove approved the award.
“We are fortunate as a community to have so many outstanding people willing to put themselves in harm’s way to assist others in need, and it is only fitting that they have today been recognised through the Australian Honours system,” Mr Cosgrove said.
Mark Denne rescued a family from a burning house next door to his parents’ home in Whalan in February 2011. Picture: Carmela Roche HEROIC ACTION
The neat house in Salamaua Rd, Whalan, where Mark Denne rescued three people in 2011.