A Miami-Dade Police officer who helped save a wheelchair-bound woman from an apartment fire received a medal from his department Thursday.
When Officer Anthony Garcia got the call to respond to the fire last October, he said his instincts kicked in.
"I gotta do something, I can't just sit down and think twice," he said.
Garcia was the first unit to arrive at the apartment off of Milam Dairy Road and Northwest 5th Street on October 25, 2014.
"I was actually around the corner on Flagler. We got the call about a structure fire, people possibly stuck inside," he said.
A thin film of black ash still covers a wall at the building. For Officer Garcia it's a reminder of the nearly 100 displaced residents who watched their complex go up in flames.
"We got multiple calls from the dispatcher that people were actually stuck in the structure that was on fire," he said.
That's when Garcia and one of the residents headed upstairs, trying their best to evacuate each floor.
"When I was on my way to the third floor I saw an elderly female that was wheelchair-bound, stuck in her apartment being overcome by smoke," Garcia said. "She began coughing, she told me that she was very sick, needed oxygen. I was getting light-headed, I couldn't even speak on the radio."
But for Garcia, wearing the badge means doing everything possible to help those in danger.
"We were able to get her down the stairs to safety," he said.
Answering the call of duty. Garcia does not think his actions are heroic. But his fellow officer think otherwise, awarding him with the Bronze Medal of Valor.
"At the end of the day, everybody wearing the uniform would have done the exact same thing I did," Garcia said. "Anybody in my squad would have done exactly what I did."