Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Ceinie to the Rescue; Hero Tells of the Night She Saved Her Neighbour from Blazing Home

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Ceinie to the Rescue; Hero Tells of the Night She Saved Her Neighbour from Blazing Home

Article excerpt

SHE'S no stranger to trauma, but even for Ceinie Grudnoff, pulling her elderly neighbour from his burning home moments before fire swallowed it was pretty daunting.

Not that you'd know it from talking to her.

The critical care nurse will be recognised by the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service today for her role in saving 85-year-old John Hunt when his Buderim home was engulfed in flames in the early hours of April 4.

CONTINUED PAGE 4

MRS Grudnoff spoke to the Daily yesterday about the drama on the eve of receiving the Assistant Commissioner's Commendation Award.

"The more I think about it the more I think how lucky I am to get out of the house that basically exploded behind us," she said.

Mrs Grudnoff, 49, said she was woken just before 1am to the sound of her good friend's smoke alarm and panic button sounding.

Springing into action, Mrs Grudnoff's husband, Peter, woke their children to get them to safety while Mrs Grudnoff charged next door, where she could see fire well and truly underway in Mr Hunt's garage.

She and another neighbour, Sharon Kohncke, kicked down Mr Hunt's front door after their efforts to rouse him failed.

Without hesitation, Mrs Grudnoff took off into the burning home to rescue Mr Hunt.

"The garage to the right was completely engulfed," she said. "When the door opened we were pushed backwards by the force of the fumes.

"I just remember taking a big breath and running through thick fumes and I found him standing at his bedroom door."

With mobility an issue for Mr Hunt, and nearby exits locked, Mrs Grudnoff had no option but to take Mr Hunt back the way they had come, through a blanket of thick smoke.

"I basically had to tell him, 'trust me and keep moving'," Mrs Grudnoff recalled.

"About three to four metres from the entry I could hear people saying nobody can go into the house and I thought 'geez, we're in here', and I said to him 'if we don't get out now the house is going to explode'. …

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