ATLANTA — A homeless man ran into a burning animal shelter and brought all 16 animals to safety, shelter officials said.
Keith Walker, 53, was on his way to pick up his dog Bravo at the W-Underdogs animal shelter and take him for a walk Dec. 18 when he noticed the facility was on fire, CNN reported. He ran in and rescued every animal — six dogs and 10 cats — as firefighters raced to the scene.
“I was nervous as hell, I’m not going to lie. I was really scared to go in there with all that smoke. But God put me there to save those animals,” Walker told CNN. “If you love a dog, you can love anyone in the world. My dog is my best friend, and I wouldn’t be here without him, so I knew I had to save all those other dogs.”
Walker, who has been homeless since he was 13, keeps Bravo there at night.
“He is my guardian angel,” shelter founder Gracie Hamlin told CNN. “Even the firefighters didn’t want to handle the dogs. They called animal control, but Keith was already in the building pulling out the cats and dogs until they were all safe.”
Investigators said an electrical fire in the kitchen started the blaze. The fire did not completely destroy the shelter. However, it is unlivable. The group was planning a move to a new facility in a week but has moved in ahead of schedule.
“I can’t thank him enough for saving my animals. I’m still in disbelief because I’ve been around a fire, and I know how fast they flare up,” Hamlin said. “He is my hero.”