A quick-thinking rookie San Jose police officer pulled an unconscious driver from a burning car just moments before the man was overtaken by flames Sunday afternoon.
Officer Pedro Garcia was driving on Interstate 680 and had just merged onto the southbound ramp to U.S. 101 when he came upon the burning car.
“It wasn’t a call for service or anything, I just stumbled upon the vehicle,” said Garcia, 29, who joined the force in February.
Garcia immediately reported the incident to his dispatcher and hopped out of his patrol car.
Two other men who had stopped at the scene said there was a man slumped over behind the wheel.
“I grabbed him and was pulling him out,” Garcia said, adding that firefighters later told him the man’s shoes had melted onto the car’s floorboard.
The rescue was captured on the dash camera of a responding firetruck and Garcia’s own body cam.
“It felt like no more than a minute” he said “I felt like I just had seconds to react.”
Garcia was raised in San Jose by parents who immigrated from Jalisco state in Mexico and he has two cousins on the San Jose police force.
“I was just glad I was at the right place at the right time,” he said, noting that he believes the man he rescued is doing well.
It was unclear what caused the fire to start or why the man was unconscious.