Four honoured at firefighter graduation

Published: 14th January 2010

Emergency Services Minister Steve Whan has paid tribute to two members of the public and two NSW Fire Brigades (NSWFB) firefighters who have been honoured with special awards at a ceremony in Sydney today.

Mr Whan said all four men had made an extraordinary contribution to society and deserved the special commendations presented by NSWFB Commissioner Greg Mullins during a graduation ceremony for 20 new firefighters at the NSWFB training college in Alexandria. 

"NSW firefighters do amazing things on a daily basis but sometimes they do even more than is expected of them and it’s important to acknowledge these remarkable acts," Mr Whan said.

"When members of the public also put their own lives at risk in an attempt to rescue others from a potentially fatal fire they deserve our grateful thanks.

"Qualified Firefighter Malcolm Garbutt of Willoughby Fire Station received a commendation for his rescue of three people trapped in a car following a horrific freeway pile up in 2007.

"A junior firefighter at the time, Malcolm, while off duty, came across a nine vehicle accident where one of the cars was upturned on its roof with three terrified people inside and a strong smell of leaking fuel.

"He pulled them clear and undoubtedly rescued them from suffering further serious injury or even death.  Malcolm demonstrated calmness and decisiveness in a critical situation and was praised by other emergency services on the scene."

The Central Coast's highly respected Zone Commander Superintendent Keith King received a Commendation for Meritorious Service for his work in developing the FirePod project, which provides people with disabilities with essential fire safety equipment and protection in their homes. 

"Superintendent King is a highly regarded officer who helped put into place an excellent initiative involving the installation of smoke alarms, sprinkler systems, fire extinguishers and emergency lighting in the homes of people with disabilities who may not be able to escape a fire due to mobility problems. 

"This will undoubtedly help to save lives amongst this 'at risk' group, as well as helping them to lead more independent lives.  The first fire safety package was installed last month for a Central Coast resident with cerebral palsy," Mr Whan said.

Awards also went to members of the public Warren Gardner and David Younan for their efforts in searching for occupants at a house fire at Springwood.

Commissioner Mullins said that the two fire officers and two members of the public truly deserved their commendations.

"Their acts are an inspiration to the 20 new graduates joining the NSWFB today and I am humbled and proud to honour them by presenting them with Commissioner’s commendations."   

Commissioner Mullins went on to congratulate the Brigade’s newest recruits in completing the challenging 16-week program which equips them with the skills and knowledge required to protect NSW communities from fire and other emergencies.

"They will now put their four months of intensive training into action, joining suburban fire crews to respond to all manner of emergencies while also educating communities about fire safety."

Commissioner Mullins said recruits come from diverse backgrounds showing the popularity of firefighting as a profession.

"The recruits come from a variety of backgrounds and include a former electrician, police officer, builder, horticulturalist, student, surveyor, shop manager and naval officer," Commissioner Mullins said.

The 20 graduates will be based in fire stations throughout metropolitan NSW as follows:

Fire officer - Station
  • Mark Blackmore - Ashfield   
  • Glenn Lawlor - Burwood   
  • Kevin Blisett - City of Sydney   
  • Allan Manning - Burwood   
  • Mark Brandt - Huntingwood   
  • Shane Mather - The Rocks   
  • Martin Care-Wickham - Guildford   
  • John Mattock - Redfern   
  • Samuel Carlon - Macquarie Fields   
  • Bethany McGee - Macquarie Fields   
  • Christopher Dykstra - Eastwood   
  • Paul Oakes - Castle Hill   
  • Lachlan Haar - Blacktown   
  • Anthony Padovan - Alexandria   
  • Joseph Javillonar - Regentville   
  • Andrew Rosnell - City of Sydney   
  • Bradley Jory - Parramatta   
  • Kylie Sharman - City of Sydney   
  • Brad Kaines - City of Sydney   
  • Leewarra Wright - Silverwater