Off-duty firies receive Australian Bravery Decoration after Bassendean house fire


Firefighters Mario Tepass and Todd Andrews. Picture: Theo Fakas/Perth Now
Firefighters Mario Tepass and Todd Andrews. Picture: Theo Fakas/Perth Now

OFF-DUTY firefighters who rescued two people from a fire have made the honours list of the national bravery decorations.

Mario Tepass, of Mt Helena, and Todd Andrews were on their way home from a 12-hour shift at Belmont Fire Station when they saw flames coming from a house in Bassendean.

A man flagged them down and said his partner was inside the blazing building.

When he became agitated and attempted to get into the house through a window, Mr Tepass urged him to stay back as his colleague ran to the rear of the house where he heard a woman’s voice.

The firefighters then crawled along the floor of the smoke-filled building and discovered the woman was lying on the floor behind a toilet door.

They had to run in and out of the house several times to clear their lungs of smoke and on the fourth attempt, tore down the door to pull the woman to safety.

First aid was given to the woman as fire crews fought the blaze.

After the fire in February 2014, the firefighters said they were just doing their job.

Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove commended the two men for their brave conduct, along with others nominated for an Australian Bravery Decoration.

“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.

The firefighters were among more than 40,000 award winners to receive recognition since the bravery decorations began in 1975.

Anyone may nominate another person for an Australian Bravery Decoration.