PART FIREY, ALL HERO
Meet the policeman who’s made a habit of rushing in to save others from inferno
MICK White is a policeman by profession and a fireman by circumstance.
The 39-year-old sergeant from Orange police has risked his life to run into a burning building not once, but twice.
After already receiving a bravery award for his actions during a house fire in Goulburn in 2009, Sergeant White was in Bathurst on his day off last year when he spotted smoke coming from a Chinese restaurant.
“I had grabbed a coffee and was having a stroll when I saw a lot of smoke coming out of the restaurant,” the policeman said. “I went inside to see what was going on and there was a lady there with a young child who was about eight or nine. There was a lot of smoke inside the restaurant and I walked through to the kitchen, which is where the fire started, and I saw this lady madly pulling stuff out of the kitchen and I said ‘you’ve got to get out’.
“Then I went back in to check there was no one else in there, I looked through the whole restaurant, it was quite hard to breathe by that time.”
After getting the mother, who did not speak fluent English, and her child out safely, Sergeant White then turned his attention to evacuating the units above.
“I looked up at the rear balcony and there was a man up there and he just kept yelling ‘son, son’ and pointing to his unit,” he said.
“I asked him if anyone else was in the building but he didn’t speak a word of English, so I went in there with another bloke and we checked every room, but there was no one in there.”
Sgt White said he later discovered the man had been concerned about his son, not realising he had already been evacuated from the restaurant downstairs.
The mother was taken to hospital and treated for minor burns and smoke inhalation, but no one was seriously injured in the fire.
The restaurant has since reopened after undergoing extensive repairs.
It was the second time Sgt White had been honoured for bravely running into a burning building — just two years earlier he was presented with a NSW Police Commissioner’s Valour Award for risking his life trying to save a man from the furious house fire in Goulburn.
The man, who was tragically killed, had collapsed from smoke inhalation and blocked the officers from being able to open the door.
Mick White with Kate, son Harry, daughter Milla and dogs Dave Grohl and Dashiel. Picture: Zenio Lapka
Mr White’s earlier award.