Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

A sheriff’s custody assistant who hopes to make deputy was being credited Monday with helping to save 42 people who became trapped aboard a burning bus in Hacienda Heights.

Jesse Hernandez, who is assigned to the North County Correctional Facility in Castaic, was on his way to work about 8:30 p.m. Sunday when he came upon a charter bus that was stopped at an angle, blocking two lanes of the westbound Pomona (60) Freeway near the Hacienda Boulevard off-ramp, according to the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.

Hernandez noticed flames coming from the rear engine compartment of the bus and pulled over to check on the vehicle’s occupants, officials said.

Running toward the bus, he saw several passengers frantically hitting and kicking at the exit door, which appeared to be stuck.

Hernandez managed to force the handle and open the door, allowing the 42 adults on board, one of them the bus driver, to exit without injury.

Hernandez then entered the smoke-filled bus to make sure no one was left inside.

“Due to Hernandez’s swift actions, neither the passengers nor the bus driver were seriously injured,” according to a sheriff’s department statement.

Hernandez, who is a National Guard reservist, has been with the sheriff’s department since July 2012.

City News Service

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