Ryan Lemmens and Ross Tomlinson said their "adrenaline was pumping" when they saved an Auckland family from a burning house last month.
The two ambulance officers were on their way to a call-out in the early hours of March 20 when they came across the New Lynn house on fire.
"There were some people standing outside the house saying that there were people inside and they couldn't wake them up.
"We thought we had to get in and help them," Mr Lemmens said about the moment they arrived.
After smashing a window there was still no response, so the 25-year-olds kicked through a gate and entered the house - waking up the occupants and safely removing them.
This morning they were recognised for their bravery and preservation of life.
But Mr Lemmens said it was all part of the job.
"It needed to be done, otherwise it could have been a lot worse for the people inside.
"I don't think it was a scary moment...we just knew that we had to do something."
A fire crew arrived at the house five minutes later and the fire was isolated to the kitchen area.
Mr Lemmens was surprised the two adults and three children, including a baby, escaped without injuries.
"With the amount of smoke there was, we were expecting some smoke inhalation at least. They were quite lucky."
Spokesman for St John Robbie Walker said: "The crew have done a great job and I'm sure avoided a worse outcome for the very lucky family."
Mr Lemmens agreed and said: "If we hadn't been driving past I guess the fire would have spread, and either woken someone up with a burn or smoke inhalation, or possibly death if they didn't wake up".
"We'd happily do it again."
St John Annual Appeal (6-12 April)
• For the appeal this year St John has the aim of raising $2.4m to buy 12 new ambulances.
• A fully equipped new ambulance costs $200,000 and it costs $1 million to fully equip and crew an ambulance every year.
You can donate by:
- Looking out for collectors shaking buckets around the country
- By donating at any ASB branch
- Calling 0800 ST JOHN (0800 785 646).
- Or to donate online visit: www.stjohnappeal.org.nz