Two CSEA members hailed as heroes
Two San Jose-area CSEA members are being called heroes for their courageous and quick action in two separate crisis situations.
On the morning of Nov. 28, Jesse Hernandez, a groundskeeper with Evergreen Chapter 432, rescued two women from a burning motor home. Hernandez, a 10-year employee with the school district, was driving from one of his job sites to another when he noticed smoke coming from a motor home. He stopped his car and got out to see what was happening and heard cries for help coming from the inside.
“I kicked the door and broke it in,” Hernandez said, explaining that there were two women inside. “Their hands were all burnt and that’s probably why they couldn’t get out”
After Hernandez got the women to safety, he grabbed a hose and started dousing the motor home, which was in flames by this point. When firefighters arrived, they took control; of the situation and Hernandez left the scene to change his clothes. He said he never thought twice about helping—it’s just a matter of acting immediately. He said he didn’t feel like a hero.
“It just so happened that I was walking by and saw the smoke,” Hernandez said. “I’m glad that everything turned out fine.”
On the previous morning, Wilma Acosta, a bus driver with Franklin-McKinley Chapter 502, rescued a wheelchair-bound student immediately before the bus burst into flames. The bus first began smoking from its engine compartment and it quickly escalated into a fire. Acosta thought quickly and pulled the student from her wheelchair and out the burning bus just before it burst into an inferno. Acosta could not be reached for comment.
San Jose fire department officials said both Hernandez and Acosta are heroes.
"Two days in a row, the quick thinking and heroic efforts of two school district employees potentially saved the lives of three people," San Jose Fire Captain Mary Gutierrez told the San Jose Mercury News.