A MERSEYSIDE dad-of-one who rescued an elderly man from a burning flat will receive the first of new bravery awards from the fire service.
When Brian Hayes, 44, saw flames inside a broken window of a flat where Michael Whiteley, 86, lived he did not hesitate to help.
It is the first time a Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service bravery medal has been awarded – previously chief fire officers could only issue a commendation.
Mr Hayes, who has worked as a buildings manager for a year at The Cliff in New Brighton, said: “It was unbearably hot. I had my jumper over my head which had been soaked with cold water. After five attempts to get into his flat I found Mr Whiteley on the floor behind his armchair and carried him to safety outside. I kept thinking I will save him as he is also a father.
“The Fire Service was very quick at responding but I would not have wanted anything on my conscience if I knew I could help Mr Whiteley.
“We were both taken to hospital and treated for smoke inhalation. Thankfully Mike has made a full recovery and I am delighted to be given this award.”
Mr Hayes was a self-employed plasterer before he took up his new role as a buildings manager at the block.
Mr Whiteley has lived at The Cliff for nine years.
He said: “I was very pleased to hear Brian would receive an award. I thought that was well done and well deserved. It’s fantastic.
“ I was dragged out of the flames. The smoke was horrible.”
Chief fire officer Dan Stephens said: “This is the first time a Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service bravery medal has ever been issued and Mr Hayes thoroughly deserves the recognition.
“Mr Hayes confronted heat and smoke to rescue Mr Whiteley in a heroic act.”
Mr Hayes rescued Mr Whiteley on November 25, 2011. The fire service had been called at 2.46pm to the blaze in a second floor flat.
The new bravery award will be presented to Mr Hayes at a special ceremony later this year.