AIRLIE Beach hostel manager Fiona Bennion didn't think twice about her own safety as smoke and flames threatened the lives of her guests in the early hours of September 13, 2015.
When the first police on the scene were unable to find an elderly couple still trapped in a rear room, she guided them to the right area at considerable risk to her own life.
Realising there were gas cylinders and gas lines nearby, she then raced to the underground car park, where she was able to turn off the gas lines and reduce the threat of an explosion.
Her fearlessness was recognised with the ultimate honour recently, a commendation for brave conduct at the Australian Bravery Decorations.
The Mackay district police also bestowed a similar honour on the courageous manager at their annual award ceremony last week, although Mrs Bennion was too modest to front.
Senior Sergeant Nathan Blain, one of the first officers to respond to the restaurant fire said Mrs Bennion was a lifesaver that night.
"She was very brave in her actions in helping us,” he said.
"The safety of the people inside were at the forefront of her mind.
"A lot of people won't always act the way she did, but she was a tremendous help to us.”
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