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Cpl Nick Wiseman
'FIRE! FIRE! FIRE!' boomed the
voice of RSM Duntroon WO1 Ken
Bullman as he raced across the
parade ground. This time it was not
a drill -- there was thick dark smoke
billowing from the heritage-listed
library and historic museum.
The actions of WO1 Bullman and
Lt-Col Jason Hedges on the after-
noon of Saturday, March 12 last year,
resulted in both men being awarded
the Commendation for Brave Conduct
in the 2012 Bravery Awards.
WO1 Bullman saw the smoke from
across the parade ground, asked his
wife to call Lt-Col Hedges and raced
towards the fire.
"I had this image in my head that
in our centenary year we were going to
lose a hundred years of history, herit-
age buildings and essentially ruin a
number of centenary activities includ-
ing a royal visit only months away,"
"I could see the Queen presenting
us our colours with black rubble from
the building next to the parade ground."
WO1 Bullman checked for danger
then smashed a glass pane in the solid
front doors to enter the building.
"The old glass was a lot thicker
than I expected and took some effort to
break," he said.
WO1 Bullman ran to the museum,
fearing the loss of priceless history but
Fight to save heritage
Duntroon RSM WO1 Ken Bullman and Lt-Col Jason Hedges saved the Duntroon Library from fire
Photo by Cpl
Awarded for bravery: Lt-Col Jason Hedges and WO1 Ken Bullman fought a
fire that broke out in the Duntroon Library and Museum.
quickly found the smoke was com-
ing from the library, so he ran in that
direction only to be stopped by another
set of solid wooden doors.
WO1 Bullman kicked-in the
"Part of the roof had collapsed
from the fire onto furniture and book-
shelves and you could see the flames
up in the roof from the cavity where
the roof had fallen through," he said.
WO1 Bullman sprayed the flames
with a fire extinguisher and then he
heard a voice asking if anyone was in
there. Realising it was a staff cadet,
he instructed him to gather up all the
Lt-Col Hedges called ACT Fire and
Rescue before he entered. He found
WO1 Bullman and the pair smashed
a window to allow the rehabilitating
staff cadets, some with crutches, to
pass through the fire-fighting supplies.
The cadets continued to bring extin-
guishers from nearby buildings and
helped the soldiers fight the fire until
ACT Fire and Rescue took control.
Lt-Col Hedges and WO1 Bullman
were treated for smoke inhalation
while making sure all the staff cadets
on the scene were accounted for. WO1
Bullman said he liked to think they had
made a difference that day.
"You just don't know how far the
fire was throughout the roof," he said.
"If we hadn't been there on the
Saturday, there could have been a
lengthier response and the whole
building, history and books could have
been lost forever."
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