WWII digger saved from fire was war hero

Tracey Ferrier

Neighbours are rallying around a decorated World War II veteran after helping save the 99-year-old from a ferocious fire that killed his dogs and destroyed his Brisbane home.

Simon Royston says his neighbour Bob - a recipient of France's highest military honour - was battling to get down the stairs of his blazing Salisbury home when he raced over to help about 7pm on Sunday.

He helped the veteran to safety before returning to try to save his beloved dogs, but they perished.

The modest home was destroyed but fire crews managed to recover five-of-the-six war medals Bob earned but a sixth is still missing.

And the fate of a certificate, acknowledging him as a recipient of France's Legion d'Honneur for his role in liberating Europe, is not known.

It used to hang on a wall of the fibro cottage he'd called home for 45 years, and where he'd lived alone for many years after the death of his wife, another neighbour Melissa Lucas told the ABC.

"This man had the Legion d'Honneur, France's highest military honour, bestowed to him as a liberator of Europe," she told the ABC.

Ms Lucas said Bob would be devastated by the loss of his dogs.

Mr Royston found Bob standing at the top of the stairs with fire raging behind him.

"He was battling to come down the stairs. His eyes were watering and I think he'd been trying to battle the blaze by himself for a little while before shouting out for help," Mr Royston said.

Ms Lucas said Bob didn't have any kids and lived alone with his dogs after the death of his wife and later a carer.

"Since that time - that was about 18 months ago - the other neighbours in Bob's street and the street behind have been showering him and helping him."

She said she hoped the RSL would now help. Fire crews are expected to search for the missing sixth medal on Monday.