Employees of Newtown’s Max Black are on the hunt for the “gallant human” who saved their lives by warning them of a fire that had started in the downstairs Chinese-Malaysian restaurant Happy Chef last month.

The November 24 blaze ended up being fought by 100 firefighters – three of who were sent to hospital with injuries – and shut down King Street.

Rosie and Natalia (both prefer not to use their surnames) were working in the store on that Saturday night when the smoke alarm went off. They couldn’t see any traces of fire and, when the alarm stopped ringing, they continued business as usual.

“Then, this gentleman came bounding up the stairs and said we should leave,” Rosie told Broadsheet. “He was so lovely. He said, ‘Ladies you shouldn’t be here’, he alerted us to the gravitas of the situation.”

As the women were leaving they noticed smoke coming from the storeroom and up through the floor from the ground-level kitchen where the blaze had started. The fire caused so much damage that both businesses are still closed.

“It happened so quickly,” says Natalia.

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The women are now searching for the “secret saviour” who heroically warned them of the inferno. They’ve asked the public to lend them a hand, turning to Facebook to try and track him down. The women can’t quite remember what he looked like – “One of those vague descriptions: average height, brown hair. He was just a really good Samaritan,” says Natalia.

When they find the “gallant” gentleman, Rosie says they want to hug him. “And say a big thank you to him directly. I don’t even remember if I said thank you. The shock hit, and we were so busy trying to get ourselves and the customers out. It just sits on my conscience. I want to thank him.”

As the Max Black team continue to sleuth, they’ll keep everyone updated on the venue’s blog. Max Black hopes to reopen in 2019. In the meantime, you can pick up its products online.