San Jose, CA – A rookie San Jose police officer is being called a hero after he rescued a man from a burning car on the freeway last Sunday and the fire department caught his bravery on camera (video below).
The rescue occurred on Sept. 26 after a wreck on Highway 101 left a car engulfed in flames on the right-hand shoulder of the road, KTVU reported.
When the fire department arrived on the scene of the wreck, they found San Jose Police Officer Pedro Garcia making a daring rescue from a sedan that was ablaze.
The video showed the police officer approached the burning car without hesitation and began extraordinary efforts, close to the flames, to get the driver out.
Once he pulled the driver out of the car, he grabbed him under the armpits and pulled him away from the blazing vehicle, the video showed.
Officer Garcia told KTVU that the driver was unconscious and woke up while he was trying to drag him to safety.
“I was like, ‘Hey bro, let go, your car is on fire!’” the officer said. “I’m explaining to him, ‘You’re going to be OK, bro, you’re going to be OK. They’re going to check you out.”
Officer Garcia said that he hadn’t waited for the fire department to arrive because he didn’t think there was time.
He said it didn’t matter in the moment that fire trucks were just pulling up on the scene or that the California Highway Patrol actually had jurisdiction on that roadway, the rookie officer who graduated from the police academy in February said he did what needed to be done to save the trapped driver, KTVU reported.
“In this situation, I feel like seconds matter, so I didn’t want to spend any more time,” Officer Garcia explained. “I believe I was at the right place at the right time. And it was just instinct. I had to do it.”
The man he rescued was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment, KTVU reported.
“Later on, I learned from the fire department his shoes were melted down to the floorboard,” Officer Garcia said, explaining why it was hard to drag the man’s feet from the car.
He said he shouldn’t be considered a hero, KTVU reported.
“Anyone else in the department, if they were in this situation I was, they would have done the same exact thing,” Officer Garcia said.
“To have his training kick in like it did was just amazing. I’m proud of his courageous acts,” San Jose Police Chief Anthony Mata said afterwards.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below:
Bravery under fire
Yesterday, rookie officer Pedro Garcia came upon a collision on Hwy 101 with one vehicle engulfed in flames and the driver still inside. pic.twitter.com/1cyc8AMkQp
— San Jose Police Dept (@SanJosePD) September 27, 2021