Monico Trujillo II is a true hero, and he has a commendation from the Salt Lake County Fire Department to prove it.

Last month on Christmas Eve, Trujillo, 20, 4149 S. 1460 East, saved the life of neighbor Floyd Jex by pulling him from his burning home to safety.When Trujillo looked out the front room window of his family's Holladay home and saw fire at the Jex house, he dialed the 911 emergency number then handed the phone to his mother, who spoke with dispatchers while Trujillo ran to the burning home.

Trujillo crawled into the home to avoid being overcome by the dense smoke that had already reduced visablity in the home to nearly zero. Because he couldn't see anything, Trujillo yelled, hoping Jex, 60, could answer and make his location known.

When Jex responded, Trujillo felt his way into the kitchen, located his neighbor then dragged him out the front door. Jex suffered third degree burns and is being treated at the Univerisy of Utah Hospital burn unit.

County Fire Chief Larry Hinman said the techniques Trujillo used are exactly those used by firefighters affecting a rescue in a burning building. Trujillo, a U. pre-med student and a Marine reservist, said he has never had any fire rescue training, but he acted instinctively.

"I was scared," Trujillo said, recalling the incident. "I remember thinking `I don't want to die and make this a Christmas tragedy for my family.' But I also was thinking that he was probably in there."

In his commendation of Trujillo, Hinman said, "In our times heroes are generally produced for audience consumption on television. In this case a citizen of Salt Lake County acted with valor at the risk of his own life. He is indeed a true hero."