PART FIREY, ALL HERO

Meet the po­lice­man who’s made a habit of rush­ing in to save oth­ers from in­ferno

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS - LIA HARRIS CRIME RE­PORTER

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.

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