Republic Services Driver Antonio “Tony” Hernandez was presented with a mayoral certificate of commendation on Tuesday for dousing a house fire with his fire extinguisher during his usual pick-up route in Richmond last month.
On Sept. 25, Hernandez witnessed the house fire on 18th Street near Bissell Avenue. After seeing a panicked resident running from the house calling for help, Hernandez fetched the fire extinguisher from his truck, ran to the back of the house and battled the blaze, according to the Richmond mayor’s office.
“Structure fires can quickly become uncontrollable,” Mayor Tom Butt said during Tuesday’s Richmond council meeting. “Tony’s actions very likely prevented a tragedy from occurring.”
The incident “serves as a reminder to us all to look out for one another,” the mayor added.
During public comment, Richmond resident Don Gosney praised Hernandez by saying true heroes don’t give a second thought as to when to run into danger during a time of need.
“We all would like to think when confronted by danger that we would do what Mr. Hernandez did,” Gosney said. “But we really don’t know till we are tested like he was. Many thanks Mr. Hernandez. You make us proud to be in your presence.”
A grateful Hernandez offered a brief, humble statement at council Tuesday.
“I’m just doing what I do,” he said. “It was no problem at all.”