Michael Chillemi jokes about being showered in medals each time he returns toTomakin.
“Every time I come back to this place, I pick up more awards,” Mr Chillemi said.
It tooka year, but the Royal Humane Society of NSW finally tracked down Mr Chillemi last month.
The society presented Mr Chillemi with medals; to honour his bravery saving a couple who’s car was on fire.
“You never forget that smell – the smell of burning flesh and hair, of bodies burning,” Mr Chillemi said.
Mr Chillemi helped rescue a trapped driver and passenger from a burning vehicle at Telegraph Point, north of Port Macquarie, on January 5, 2005.
The car was badly damaged and on firewhen Mr Chillemi, held up in the accident traffic, went to assist.
He pulled the female passenger from the car, but the male driver was trapped.
“She was getting burnt but we got her out okay,” Mr Chellimi said.
“But he was stuck in the car –it was just me and him andhe was well and truly trapped. He had a bone sticking out here, and a bone sticking out there,and the steering wheel pushed right up against him.”
Bystanders were urging Mr Chellimi to get away as the car was well ablaze.
“My mind was single focus –I am not letting this fella die. He is coming with me or we are going to die together,” Mr Chellimi said.
“The car was gonna go anytime. I had people running up to me handing me fire extinguishers. As quick as I would put themout, theywould start up again. I used five extinguishers.”
Mr Chillemi resorted to water bottles and even cans of coke to keep the fire off the man while he tried to free him.
“The coke did help, it stopped him from burning a bit,” he said.
“Another guy came up witha knife, so we cut the seat belt and smashed the door open and we dragged the guy out.
“We got him away and BOOM! Up it went.
“It wasn’t quite like in the movies but I tell you what, inthree minutesthere was nothing left except a car shell,” he said.
“They lived –that was the main thing.”
Mr Chillemi had already been awarded Australia’s bravery medal by the Governor General in 2009. He traveled to Canberra to accept it.
“I thought, ‘what am I doing here’,” Mr Chillemi said.
“There were a lot of people, much more famous than me and I was the last person on the list, but,believe it or not, I got a standing ovation from the whole crowd who was there.
Kim Beasley also got an award that day –he came up to me afterward and shook my hand. He told me next time he was travelling he was taking me with him.
MEDAL MADNESS: Michael Chillemi jokes about being showered in bravery medals each time he returns to Tomakin
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.