WOODLAND -- As an officer with California Highway Patrol Officer Guillermo Hernandez is in the profession of protection.
“Just always been the kind of guy who wants to help out,” Hernandez said.
And, Friday morning, he proved he deserves his badge -- and a whole lot of gratitude.
“Just on my way home from work, after the graveyard shift, and saw an accident on the side of the road,” Hernandez remembered.
Multiple cars were involved in a crash on Highway 99 near Pleasant Grove and a pickup truck had burst into flames.
“It looked hopeless, with the fully-engulfed fire," Hernandez said. "No one could get near him, get near the car. It was just too hot."
But, that didn’t stop him from trying.
He ran toward the blazing truck, along with a few other off-duty first responders who pulled over to help.
“Someone ran up with a fire extinguisher. It just knocked the flames down just enough, I believe that he could move to the passenger side," Hernandez said.
The driver, whose door was wedged against another car, made his way to the passenger seat of the truck.
“I see the door pop open. So, I ran toward it! Seeing that he was still struggling to get out,” Hernandez said.
With flames all around, he was able to pull the driver to safety.
“There was definitely a divine intervention. I’ve seen a lot of fires and in a lot of these cases…it’s too late," Hernandez said. "This one looked too late. It looked hopeless but nobody gave up."
The driver was taken to the hospital with serious injuries but he is expected to recover.
“You just do what you’ve been trained to do and you’ve been doing it for so long. It just becomes automatic," Hernandez said.