CFA awards first ever commendation to community heroes

Member News image Chief Officer Jason Heffernan with award recipients Dean Tustin and David Harrison


CFA has officially commended two community heroes for rescuing a disabled man from his burning home in June, 2020.


Yesterday (13 February) CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan and Chief Executive Officer Natalie MacDonald presented CFA’s first ever Citizen’s Commendations to Dean Tustin and David Harrison for their bravery and courage at a house fire in Plenty.

On 13 June 2020 at around 10.30pm, Dean and David were alerted to the house fire in their street.

Incident Controller and former Plenty Fire Brigade Captain Adrian Marshman said knowing the medical history of the home’s occupants, Dean and David were faced with a very distressing situation.

“Dean and David ran inside the property and worked together to carry Michael, who has severe cerebral palsy, out of the house to safety,” Adrian said.

“Dean went back to the property to rescue Michael’s father James, who suffers dementia, and in his quick thinking also saved some vital equipment for Michael.

“Michael and James are alive thanks to the actions of both Dean and David that night.”

The CFA Citizen’s Commendation was established in 2019 to acknowledge a community member who has performed an act of bravery at a fire or provided exemplary service in connection to CFA or for their communities.

Chief Officer Jason Heffernan said this was the first time CFA had awarded someone with the Citizen’s Commendation.

“I can’t think of anyone more deserving than community members Dean and David, to be the first to receive this important award,” CO Heffernan said.

“Their acts of heroism and bravery that night were nothing short of incredible and CFA is grateful for their service to the community.

“This award was created to give CFA the opportunity to highlight, thank and reward members of the community like Dean and David, and I was proud and honoured to present these commendations to them.”

Award recipient David Harrison said he didn’t hesitate to do what he could to help because he knew the family and Michael’s condition.

“Dean and I did what hopefully anyone would do,” David said.

“We didn’t expect anything in return so it’s really an honour to be awarded the commendation, and to receive the first one from CFA is very special too.”


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Submitted by CFA Media