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Local Caltrans employee receives medal of valor 

David Guerna of Atascadero receiving his medal of valor at the state capitol building.

David Guerna of Atascadero receiving his medal of valor at the state capitol building.

David Guerena of Atascadero rescued woman from burning apartment building

Caltrans reported that the District 5 Equipment Operator and Atascadero resident David Guerena was one of 52 people who were presented with a medal of honor award during a recent ceremony at the California State Capitol.

On July 14, 2012, Guerena reported that he was listening to a police scanner when he heard there was a structure fire in an apartment complex behind his home in Atascadero. He said that he immediately ran outside to see smoke and flames followed by two loud explosions coming from the burning building.

At this point, he said that a young man told him that his mother was inside one of the apartments, so he ran to the door to make contact with the woman. He said that he armed himself with a fire extinguisher hanging on the wall and entered the building where he could make out the figure of a woman a few feet ahead of him who appeared disoriented; at this time, the front room was filled with smoke and flames were shooting over his head.

Guerena said that he used a fire extinguisher to clear a path between the woman and the doorway while continuing to call for her, and then he was able to grab her when she became within reach. He said that as they were moving through the front door, a stronger explosion sent fire and debris directly over their heads, but he was able get the woman to a safe place where her sons and neighbors could care for her.

The State of California and Caltrans said that they are very proud of Medal of Valor recipient David Guerena.

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