Bravery award a surprise to dad

HE'S won a bravery medal but Steve Taylor doesn't consider himself a hero.

The Penrith resident bashed down the door of an apartment engulfed in flames, rescued the sole stranger from the raging inferno and evacuated the apartment block's remaining residents — which included his young son and daughter — before collapsing in the car park with smoke inhalation.

That was on the evening of August 3, 2005.

Last Friday, in recognition of Mr Taylor's courageous and selfless act, a Royal Humane Society of NSW bronze medal was awarded to him by the Governor of NSW, Marie Bashir, at a ceremony at Government House.

"I banged the door down, saw the flames, saw the fire, and went straight in and pulled him out," Mr Taylor said.

"I didn't stop to think or hesitate, nothing, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat, not a problem."

Mr Taylor was in his apartment with his then four-year-old son, Ty, and two-year-old daughter, Courtney, when he heard a "big bang" downstairs and went to investigate.

Before leaving, he told Ty to look after Courtney in their bedroom and to "shut the door and don't open it until I get get back, no matter what you hear".

He then raced outside "because I didn't know what it was" and "as I've turned around, all these flames are coming out of the place".

"I don't know how I got the door down, apparently it was double locked, I think I was just going on adrenaline," Mr Taylor said.

"I went back upstairs, got my kids out, made sure they were safe, pulled everyone else out, walked into the car park and ended up in hospital that night."

While Mr Taylor said he was "really worried about the kids", it was his natural instinct to rescue the stranger in desperate and immediate need.

"I'll help anyone out," he said.

"If you ask me for 10 bucks and that's all I had I'd give it to you, that's the sort of person I am.

"I don't do things to get something out of it — I'm chivalrous — if you give me something, that's your prerogative, if I don't, I've done a good deed, who cares."

Which was exactly why Mr Taylor, 44, was surprised to receive a letter, seven years after his heroic act, informing him he'd earned a medal for his bravery.

"I was rapt," he said. "It took me back there, but I was very proud I got it and of what I'd done."

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