A LOCAL firefighter who saved his next door neighbour's home from burning down is among a group of Northern Rivers firies who received awards from the Rural Fire Service in a ceremony held in Sydney yesterday.
Five Northern Rivers locals were among 20 FRS individuals and three teams awarded for their bravery, dedication and service as part of St Florian's Day celebrations. (St Florian is the patron saint of firefighters).
The awards ranged from a bravery award for an attempted house fire rescue to innovative use of social media to bridge the distance brigades face in NSW.
Among the award recipients was Rodney Halpin, deputy captain of the Byron Bay Rural Fire Brigade whose quick thinking in November 2012 saved his next door neighbour's life.
The mother of two was having a shower when Mr Halpin discovered her back porch was alight from a burning candle.
Mr Halpin, who has been in the service for 20 years, always keeps two fire extinguishers in his car so he donned his uniform, grabbed his extinguisher while his wife rang triple zero and threw a garden hose over the fence.
The fire had entered the roof cavity and Mr Halpin proceeded to extinguish the blaze before any fire units arrived on scene.
Receiving awards yesterday:
Commissioner's Commendation for Service (individual)
- Senior Deputy Captain Diane Fellows - from the Bungawalbyn Rural Fire Brigade and Northern Rivers Support Brigade, Northern Rivers Zone, Region North
- Deputy Group Captain Christine Alice Hartley - Tuncester Rural Fire Brigade, Northern Rivers Zone, Region North
Commissioner's Certificate of Commendation (individual)
- Firefighter Julie Blackmore - Clunes Rural Fire Brigade, Northern Rivers Zone, Region North
- Deputy Captain Rodney James Halpin - Byron Bay Rural Fire Brigade, Far North Coast Team, Region North
- Captain William (Bill) Alfred Hovell - Larnook Rural Fire Brigade, Northern Rivers Zone, Region North