MANATEE COUNTY (WFLA) – Deputy Christian Ruiz was recently recognized as Deputy of the Month at the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office for his efforts in the early morning hours of June 16.

The deputy was on his way to work, nearing the Manatee and Hillsborough County line, when he noticed smoke in the sky. A mobile home was on fire. Deputy Ruiz made a U-turn, and headed toward the home to see what he could do to help.

Once he arrived on scene, body worn camera footage shows him removing his agency-issued fire extinguisher from his vehicle and running toward the smoke and fire. The video shows the area near the mobile home’s entryway engulfed in flames. At that point, Ruiz had already alerted dispatch of the situation and firefighters were on the way to the scene.

“I used my fire extinguisher and tried to put it out. I wasn’t able to put all of it out, but it was enough for me to knock on the door and let the people know they’ve got to get out and there is a fire,” said Deputy Ruiz.

The residents in the home made it out of the smoke-filled home safely.

“Now I see why people perish in fires, because when I walked in that smoke, I couldn’t see past my hand in front of me. It was so thick. So my concern was trying to find somebody, so I had to get close to the ground and make sure I wasn’t tripping over anything, too,” said the deputy.

Ruiz believes any other deputy would have turned around and helped just as he did. What made this incident “crazy,” he said, was the timing.

“I am usually crossing the Manatee-Hillsborough line around 5:30 in the morning, but I am type one diabetic and that morning I woke up low and my dog didn’t want to get out of his kennel for some reason, so I was running late,” said Deputy Ruiz. “Had I left on time, I could have gone into work and passed a house that probably wasn’t even on fire yet by the time I passed it. Definitely humbling because sometimes inconveniences, they irritate you, like traffic, low blood sugar, but then it makes you think ‘wow, I was late, but that made me in time for something else.'”

Ruiz tells 8 On Your Side he’s been with the agency for four years. He explained he had a career change and decided to go into law enforcement with the goal of helping others.