WHEN flames erupted from a petrol pump at the Caltex service station in Armidale Ivan Smith rushed to help.
An elderly couple had crashed into the petrol pump when the male driver accidentally hit the accelerator instead of the brake.
On Saturday, Mr Smith, Nicholas Daniell and Hidayat Hidayat were awarded NSW Commissioner Commendations for Courageous Action and Meritorious Service for their bravery in the incident.
Mr Smith said that he felt compelled to help as soon as he saw the fire from the upstairs window of the Abbottsleigh Motel where he works as the manager.
“It’s funny when you think about it, in life you have these little moments and you just have to make a decision as quick as you can do to the right thing.
“What I first noticed was the sound of the wheels at high speed screeching, I ran down and we got them out, the airbags had gone off and the lady was trapped in there.
“I was trying to drag the husband out and he was screaming ‘Get her out, save her, save her!’” he said.
Mr Smith said the incident gave him a newfound respect for the work that police and emergency services do.
“They seem to always be the first on the scene,” he said.
Mr Smith remembers the moment the son of the elderly couple shook his hand.
“I was just glad that I was able to help and save a life, it’s been an amazing experience really, it’s great to get recognition for doing something brave," he said.