Orange County corrections officer saves disabled man from fire

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An Orange County Corrections Officer who saved a disabled man's life got a hero’s welcome at a special ceremony in his honor, Monday.

Officer Geovanie Hernandez shook hands with the county's fire chief and the head of the corrections department, then walked into the firehouse where his wife and young son were also waiting to surprise him.

“Officer Hernandez, we were so impressed by your actions that we felt it necessary to make this surprise presentation to award to you today,” said James Fitzgerald, Orange County Fire Chief.

A stunned Hernandez accepted their gratitude. 

“I'm shocked, surprised,” he said. “Thank you very much, it's truly an honor!”

It all started at Hernandez’s apartment complex on June 2. 

Hernandez was playing video games with his son, when he started to smell smoke. Hernandez got his son to safety, then a security guard told him there was still a disabled man in a nearby apartment.

“I went in and noticed flames in the kitchen, from what I could see from the smoke, and a victim. So, I removed the victim to the hallway where there was less smoke,” Hernandez said. 

He grabbed a fire extinguisher and helped fight the flames as firefighters arrived.

"This was a dangerous situation, and I truly believe if Officer Hernandez had not risked his own life and health to make this save, this incident would have led to a full-blown apartment fire with severe injury,” Chief Fitzgerald said.

Accepting an award for his valor, Hernandez said he was just trying to help. 

“The world's a crazy place. I think some good, just caring for your fellow man, is the recipe we're missing nowadays. I do my best to do that.”