Fort Johnson security guard helps save neighbor’s home

Published 5:27 pm Tuesday, June 4, 2024

By Antoine Aaron

FORT JOHNSON — Fort Johnson Directorate of Emergency Services security guard Karla Garcia exhibited bravery March 2, as she raced to save her neighbor’s home from what could have been a devastating fire. Garcia had just completed a 13-hour shift. As she went to let her dogs out, she spotted flames engulfing the house behind hers.

Garcia sprang into action. She dialed 911 while rushing to the scene.

“I ran as fast as I could,” she said. “I was out of breath, but I made it to the house.”

Once there, Garcia discovered a 14-year-old boy inside the home. She said she was trying to get the boy and his dogs to safety as fast as she could. After they were out of danger, she returned to confront the blaze.

Garcia commandeered a elderly neighbor’s water hose to battle the flames.

“I noticed a trail of flames going from one side of the house to the next. Close by were a few propane tanks,” Garcia said. “Several gas cans were already melted together because of the heat from the flames.”

Garcia began spraying the flames closest to the tanks and cans, eventually putting them out and preventing further damage to her neighbor’s home.

Her quick efforts, along with the help from another neighbor who joined her in keeping the flames in check until help could arrive, saved the day.

Once firefighters made it to the scene, they thanked Garcia for her quick actions and made sure to mentioned to her she should join the fire department.

Nicholas Cage, DES security guard chief, expressed pride in Garcia’s actions and emphasized her humility and dedication to her team.

“I wasn’t surprised when I found out who it was,” Cage said. “I thought to myself, of course she did, that’s her.”

Garcia’s actions did not go unnoticed. Her efforts to save her neighbor’s home and family were recognized by Col. CJ Lopez, Fort Johnson garrison commander. He said he was proud of her and coined Garcia for her extraordinary deeds, as well as commending her unwavering commitment to duty as a security guard each day.

Cage said Garcia is all about her team.

“She’s very supportive and invested in everyone being successful,” Cage said. “She embodies the true spirit of heroism.”