SAN JOSE, Calif. - A San Jose police officer is being hailed as a hero after rescuing a man from a burning car.
On Sunday, a fire crew was en route to a collision that left one car engulfed in flames on Highway 101, but found that rookie officer Pedro Garcia had arrived first and was pulling the driver to safety.
Video recorded from an emergency responder's car shows Garcia didn't hesitate as he pulled the trapped victim from the fire. The officer told KTVU he found the man going in an out of consciousness and clinging to his car.
"I was like, ‘Hey bro, let go, your car is on fire!’ Garcia said. He said as he dragged the man to safety, "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."
"Heroes walk amongst us. There is no training for a moment like this. We put our lives on the line to save others. Fantastic job Officer Garcia! We salute you," read a statement from SJPD.
Garcia said it didn't matter that the firefighters were right behind him or that the CHP has jurisdiction on the freeway.
"In this situation, I feel like seconds matter, so I didn't want to spend any more time," Garcia said. "I believe I was at the right place at the right time. And it was just instinct. I had to do it."
The patient was treated and transported to a nearby hospital. Garcia did not receive any injuries.
"Later on, I learned from the fire department his shoes were melted down to the floorboard," Garcia said.
Still he says he shouldn't be singled out as a hero.
"Anyone else in the department, if they were in this situation I was, they would have done the same exact thing," he said.
Chief Anthony Mata said, " To have his training kick in like it did was just amazing. I'm proud of his courageous acts."