A man, 60, is in a critical condition after he was pulled from a MacDonald St unit complex about 10.30pm Saturday, December 12. Three Mackay police officers were injured rescuing the man from the fire. Picture: Heidi Petith
A man, 60, is in a critical condition after he was pulled from a MacDonald St unit complex about 10.30pm Saturday, December 12. Three Mackay police officers were injured rescuing the man from the fire. Picture: Heidi Petith

VALOUR: ’If police didn’t go in, that man wouldn’t survive’

Three police officers who forced their way inside a unit inferno to save a man's life will be nominated for bravery awards.

The tenacious officers - two constables and a senior constable - were first on scene of the MacDonald St unit complex when a fire was reported about 10.30pm Saturday.

Acting Inspector Mick Searle said the three officers' actions in smashing through a door and pulling a 60-year-old man to safety, were exemplary of the bravery and valour for which the Queensland Police Service aspired.

"Given the significant burns (the man) suffered and the significant smoke you can see inside the house …. I think you can draw a pretty firm conclusion that if those police didn't go into that house at that time, that male doesn't survive that incident," Acting Inspector Searle said.

 

Mackay police are investigating the circumstances behind a unit fire in MacDonald St which resulted in a 60-year-old man receiving significant burns to 40 per cent of his body.
Mackay police are investigating the circumstances behind a unit fire in MacDonald St which resulted in a 60-year-old man receiving significant burns to 40 per cent of his body.

 

"I certainly want to recognise that first of all the police officers, the bravery they showed in going into that house that was obviously engulfed in both flame and smoke was amazing, and also then upon arrival Queensland Fire and Emergency Services and Queensland Ambulance Service contributed significantly.

"It's a reality of the job but it's very easy to say it's an expectation that we have to put yourself in that situation, then to go into that situation where there are a lot of unknowns.

"Fires are very, very dangerous. They showed exceptional bravery … it's hard to say what everyone would do in that situation.

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"But they exemplify what we would expect from officers."

The three officers circled the unit when the front door was inaccessible.

Acting Inspector Searle said when they spotted a man lying on the bedroom floor, they smashed a glass window and climbed inside, pulling him to safety.

 

Queensland Police Service has released body worn camera vision of a Mackay house fire where three officers rescued a 60-year-old man on Saturday, December 12.
Queensland Police Service has released body worn camera vision of a Mackay house fire where three officers rescued a 60-year-old man on Saturday, December 12.

 

The man suffered critical burns to the majority of his body and was rushed to Mackay Base Hospital in a critical condition.

He was since flown to a burns unit in Brisbane where he remains in a serious condition.

"He suffered quite a significant amount of burn injuries to his body," Acting Inspector Searle said.

The three officers were treated at Mackay Base Hospital for smoke inhalation but returned to duty on Saturday night.

Acting Inspector Searle said they had not missed a shift since.

"It makes us all very proud to represent the service when you see people behave this way and act with this sort of valour.

 

Detective Acting Inspector Mick Searle.
Detective Acting Inspector Mick Searle.

 

"I am immensely proud of them. They have served the Mackay district and Queensland Police Service very well."

He urged anyone with information, who may have seen smoke coming from the unit or anyone in the vicinity at the time of the incident, to come forward.

 

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