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Army March 28, 2013
6Commended for bravery
Soldiers who fought house fire awarded
Charred by fire: The house at Puckapunyal Army Base which was the scene of a fire in 2011. The home
was searched for occupants and the fire extinguished by Capt Ian Carter and Sgt Allan Ashman who have
both been commended in the 2013 Bravery Awards.
Photo by Spr Jared Goodwin-Wicks
Cpl Nick Wiseman
TWO Army members have been com-
mended for brave conduct in the 2013
Australian Bravery Awards, after fight-
ing a house fire in Puckapunyal.
A typical early morning was unfold-
ing for the Carter family -- breakfast was
made, there was talk about a coming
wedding and the dog was getting fed --
until a fire alarm sounded next door.
Capt Ian Carter's then-fiancee,
Elisabeth, rushed outside and saw smoke
billowing from a neighbour's home. She
ran to tell her soon-to-be husband.
School of Transport OPSO Capt
Carter scrambled across fences, telling a
neighbour to call the fire brigade, before
sprinting towards the flames.
Capt Carter said his first thoughts
were not for his own safety, but to get
straight into the house to save others.
"I don't think I did anything that
anyone else wouldn't do," he said. "My
instincts were to get in and help get any-
one in there out of danger."
Hearing voices inside the house, he
discovered the back doors were open but
there was too much smoke to enter.
Capt Carter said the voices didn't
respond to his yelling.
"I ran around to the front of the
house to avoid the smoke and get in, but
the front door was locked," he said.
"I then ran back around the rear of
the house and entered through the back
door. After moving through the smoke
I discovered the TV was on, which was
the voices I heard."
Still unsure if anyone was inside, he
continued into the house, opening the
front door from the inside to reduce the
build-up of smoke.
It was then Sgt Allan Ashman, an
instructor at the School of Armour,
arrived on the scene.
Capt Carter heard him calling out
and shouted across the smoke-filled
room to Sgt Ashman, saying he should
fight the fire while Capt Carter contin-
ued to search the house.
Sgt Ashman said they only did what
anyone else would have done.
"I fought the fire using a hose and
buckets of water from a small pool out-
side," he said.
"After extinguishing the fire I helped
Capt Carter clear the house."
While Sgt Ashman battled the
flames, Capt Carter made his way
upstairs making sure no one was trapped
The smoke upstairs was 30cm from
the ground and Capt Carter had to crawl
to be able to breath.
"I removed my brown shirt and held
it to my face to act as a filter," he said.
"After each room I had to return to
the stairwell to catch my breath."
Sgt Ashman extinguished the flames
and checked the top floor but they didn't
find anyone. Both men were feeling the
effects of smoke inhalation and stum-
bled outside as firefighters were arriv-
ing. The pair was cleared by medical
Their brave actions contained the
fire to a small area and saved the house
Commended: School of Armour instructor Sgt Allan Ashman (pictured here
in Iraq in 2005) helped to stop a house fire.
Photo by WO2 Neil Ruskin
Brave: Capt Ian Carter, School of Transport OPSO, searched a burning
house in Puckapunyal for occupants.
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