A DAD-OF-ONE who rescued an elderly man from a burning flat was presented with the first ever bravery medal issued by Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MF&RS).
Brian Hayes, 44, saw flames from inside the home of 82-year-old Michael Whiteley near where he worked and risked his life to rescue him.
At a ceremony in Liverpool’s Maritime Museum he was presented with the MF&RS Bravery Medal as well as a parchment for his bravery from the Liverpool Shipwreck and Humane Society.
After receiving the award, Mr Hayes, a buildings manager at The Cliff in New Brighton, said: “It’s fantastic to receive the medal and the parchment. It was a great day.
“I am quite overwhelmed to receive these for just one action I took, I now know that some firefighters do not get their long service and good conduct medals until they have served 20 years, so this is humbling to get the medal.
“I’m going to aim to get the medal and the parchment framed together. It was great to see Mr Whiteley at the ceremony too.”
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.”
The rescue happened in November 2011 and afterwards Mr Hayes said: “I saw the smoke near one of the blocks and went to investigate.
“There was glass on the floor and flames coming out of a kitchen window. I called 999 and reassured residents who had gathered nearby.
“Quickly I made my way to the flat, knocked down the door, flames had taken hold. It was unbearably hot.
“I had my jumper over my head which had been soaked with cold water. After the fifth re-entry into the flat I found Mr Whiteley on the floor behind his armchair and carried him to safety outside. I feel lucky to get these awards.”
Michael Whiteley, who also attended the ceremony, added: “I’m very happy to be here – I’ve enjoyed the show.”