SAN JOSE, Calif. (KPIX/CBS Newspath) — Officer Pedro Garcia was on his way to his parent’s house in east San Jose to grab lunch, but then changed his mind and kept going. He says he was meant to be on that freeway on Sunday.
A San Jose firefighter with Engine 16 captured video of what happened next.
Flames can be seen shooting out from the Toyota Avalon, as Garcia runs back towards the car.
He looks inside and sees a man, unconscious, and sitting in the driver’s seat.
Garcia, who is 6-foot-2, and 195 pounds, picked the man up by his armpits and dragged him out.
But it wasn’t that simple.
The driver’s shoes had melted and fused with the floorboards.
And, the man actually woke up in the middle of the rescue and there was a bit of a struggle.
Still images were captured from Garcia’s body-worn camera. Those photos show the man unconscious and slumped over the wheel, with the airbags deployed, as flames shoot out of the engine area.
Paramedics took the driver to the hospital for cuts and smoke inhalation, and it looks like he’ll recover.
Garcia had only been on the job as an officer for eight months.
“I just, I don’t consider myself a hero. I believe anyone else would have done the same thing. I just did the right thing,” Garcia said.