By Casey Neill
Dylan Hodge hesitated for a split second, mobile phone in hand, triple zero entered and ready to be dialled.
But hearing a desperate woman shout “fire!” prompted the Keysborough man into action.
He didn’t think there was time to wait for emergency services to reach the scene, so he ran into the home in North Rockhampton, Queensland.
Mr Hodge found an elderly couple in their kitchen, flames extending to the ceiling from a portable gas stove.
“The wife was just in hysterics when I got in there,” he said.
“I got them into the back yard, away from the flames.
“I grabbed the garden hose and put out the fire as quickly as possible.”
Victorian Governor Linda Dessau presented Mr Hodge with a Certificate of Merit at the Royal Humane Society of Australasia’s bravery awards ceremony at Melbourne’s Government House on Wednesday 15 November for his actions.
“I felt extremely humbled being in the presence of people who’d risked their lives,” the 26-year-old said.
“It was a very emotional ceremony.
“I never thought in a million years the moment I ran into that house that any of this would happen.”
The auto glazier was replacing a windscreen at a home in North Rockhampton, Queensland, one afternoon in October 2013 when he heard the smoke alarm next door sound.
The power was out for maintenance so the couple was using an old butane stove to make a cuppa.
Leaking gas ignited.
“The husband was trying to put the fire out with a blanket,” Mr Hodge said.
“Unfortunately it wasn’t a fire blanket.”
The trio were taken to hospital with minor smoke inhalation.
Mr Hodge’s boss picked him up when he got the all-clear and he finished the windscreen replacement he’d started before the incident.
He took the following day off to recover, suffering with a sore chest from coughing.
“My boss came over mid-morning and gave me a card from the elderly couple thanking me and making sure I was all better and gave me a box of chocolates,” he said.
“I was glad to know they were alright.”
His father-in-law is a Queensland police officer and successfully nominated him for a certificate of appreciation from the state commissioner in 2014.
He has also received a Commendation for Brave Conduct from then-Australian Governor-General Peter Cosgrove.