Dermot Kelly, 52, ran into a smoke-filled house on Walnut Court, Kennedy Park, Limerick and pulled partner Brigid Dillon, 44, to safety from the flames.
She had fallen asleep on a couch in her living room.
Mr Kelly said: “I just did what anyone would do in the same situation.
“The officer with the fire service said if she was in there another five minutes she was gone. There was too much smoke.
“I brought her out unconscious. She was a dead weight. I couldn’t find her at first, the smoke was too bad. I had to come back out, take another deep breath, and go back in. I practically fell over her in the corner of the room. I think she was trying to get into the kitchen.
“When I went in, the whole place was on fire. I couldn’t see anything at all. It was like snow.”
Mr Kelly said he believed the fire began when a candle fell on a blanket in the sitting room while Ms Dillon was sleeping on the couch. “The smoke took her over,” he said. “She wasn’t waking up when I got there.”
He praised neighbour Stacey Mulqueen, 25, who raised the alarm on Sunday. “If Stacey hadn’t seen the smoke or the flames in the window, Brigid would have been dead because I wouldn’t have known anything,” said Mr Kelly.
Ms Dillon was in a stable condition in hospital last night.