SALUTE TO HERO­ISM

Brav­ery: Self­less ac­tions dur­ing dan­ger­ous blaze earn hon­our

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - FRONT PAGE - Elisha Pearce

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.

Brave res­cue

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.

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