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Brave neighbour tells of dramatic rescue in fatal fire

HE BATTLED flames and fear and raced into a burning home to rescue his elderly neighbour, but Mick Schmidt refuses to be called a hero.

"I'm don't feel like one... I only did what any typical Aussie would do."

Man dies in fire as brave neighbour saves wife

The 56-year-old Acacia Ridge man woke last night to news that his elderly neighbours Ricky and Josie Reid were trapped in a burning house.

"Neighbours bashed on my window... said the house was on fire," Mick said.

"I've known Ricky and Josie for years... I didn't think twice.

"I raced straight over, straight through the front door and into the burning home.

"Things were exploding.

 

The Reids’ house in Acacia Ridge. Pic Tobias Jurss-Lewis
The Reids’ house in Acacia Ridge. Pic Tobias Jurss-Lewis

 

Mick pushed through the fire and 'black toxic smoke', escorted 71-year-old Josie Reid to safety.

Then he returned for her husband.

"But the flames just pushed me back out," he said.

"So I ran over to my house and grabbed two fire extinguishers from my place."

Other residents, including neighbour Dean Hollis, took up garden houses to assist in the rescue.

The community effort 'was beautiful', Mick said.

But the end result was tragic.

Flames forced the rescuers out of the home and claimed the life of Mr Reid.

 

Josie and Ricky Reid. Josie was rescued from a fire at their Acacia Ridge home, but Ricky sadly was unable to be saved.
Josie and Ricky Reid. Josie was rescued from a fire at their Acacia Ridge home, but Ricky sadly was unable to be saved.

 

"We had no chance," Mick said.

"If I would have gotten Ricky out, then I'd say yes to being a hero."

Mick remembered his 72-year-old neighbour as a 'beautiful Scottsman' and a beloved member of a 'close-knit' neighbourhood.

In Mick's words Mr and Mrs Reid were a 'beautiful couple'.

"They knew my mum and dad... I grew up around them... I've got a lot of respect for them."

Today melancholia gripped the Gregory Street community.

The 'panic and chaos' of last night had turned to sadness, Mr Hollis said.

 

Neighbour Mick Schmidt, who saved Josie Reid's life but was unable to get to her husband. Picture: Annette Dew
Neighbour Mick Schmidt, who saved Josie Reid's life but was unable to get to her husband. Picture: Annette Dew

 

Nearby neighbour Silvia Hounslow 'terrified' by the tragedy but proud of her community's valiant efforts.

She said Mick 'will do anything for anyone, he'll help anybody out."

The humble rescuer was taken to hospital last night with burns to his hand, arm and face.

He was released this morning, and refused any glory.

"I don't feel like a hero... I only did what any typical Aussie would do."

"I'd do the same thing again, anytime, any place any way, any how."

Online, in the '4110 Ridge Life' Facebook group, the tight-knit Acacia Ridge community mourned the loss of their 'Old Trucker' and expressed solidarity with his wife Josie, who was hospitalised with smoke inhalation.

"One of the nicest guys I've met, after being in hospital fighting the good fight and to go out like this is so very tragic, may you rest well now," Liesa Williams said.

"RIP old trucker," Steven Cosson said.

"One of God's gentlemen. Sad day for all," Anthony James said.

"It's so tragic. They both have been through such hard times . So sad today to know it ended this way. Josie will need the support of all," Halina Gres said.

 

Originally published as Brave neighbour tells of dramatic rescue in fatal fire


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