State Member for Orange Phil Donato has stood before NSW Parliament to recognise the courage and heroism of the Parkes firefighters who responded to a rail tanker fuel fire in 1983.
While Mr Donato says it's sadly 40 years late for these heroes that ultimately saved the town from enormous devastation that day, he did greatly appreciate the response from Emergency Services Minister Jihad Dib.
The brave firefighters faced a ferocious fire at the East Street Mobil fuel depot on May 23, 1983, which had the potential to be a catastrophic explosion. Ignoring orders to evacuate, firefighters remained in harm's way to do whatever they could to prevent an explosion, which would have almost certainly destroyed surrounding homes, businesses and potentially killing and injuring many people in a blast radius.
"Fortunately for the township, these firefighters managed to pull-off the impossible by preventing the explosion of 33,000 litres of petrol, and eventually extinguishing the fire," Mr Donato said.
"It was a miracle these firefighters survived to tell the tale, but it would be fair to say that their lives had been impacted as a result of this significant fire event.
"Sadly, in the 40 years since, these brave firefighters have never appropriately been recognised for their courage and heroism, and the potential casualties they saved.
"Some of them have since passed, and, regretfully, are no longer here to have heard their names recognised in parliament by me as their local state MP and from the Minister for Emergency Services Jihad Dib MP who spoke in reply."
Those brave firefighters who saved the day are the late Gordon Northey, the late Rodney Bradley, Robert Tinker, Graham Dixon, Roger Larsen, Graham Thompson, the late Robert McDonald, Don Jewell, the late Bruce Shanks and the late John Ashcroft.
Mr Donato also recognised former police officer Brian Drabsch, who bravely remained in harm's way to assist these firefighters.
"It is regretful those firefighters who are now deceased weren't recognised during their lifetime, and although this late recognition provides them no solace, perhaps it does to an extent for their families, fellow firefighters and the community they saved from peril," he said.
"On behalf of the Parkes community, I commend these men for their courage and heroism."
Mr Dib said he was grateful for Mr Donato's advocacy and agreed it was important to recognise the firefighters from Parkes who attended the fire with courage and heroism.
Mr Dib also wanted to add the names of these men to his speech, which he did, reading out each firefighters' full name individually again.
"Time and time again our emergency services personnel demonstrate the commitment, dedication and heroism in protecting our communities - this was shown by the [firefighters] in Parkes in 1983," he said.
"I humbly commend the bravery of the firefighters who responded to the fire in Parkes in 1983, a fire that could have been much more devastating on the community.
"I am thankful to the Member from Orange for also recognising the efforts of our emergency services personnel as I am for every person who greatly risks their lives for others."