A homeless man risked his life to rescue several cats and dogs trapped inside an Atlanta, Georgia, animal shelter after it caught fire.
Keith Walker, 53, ran into the W-Underdogs shelter on December 18 after a fire broke out in the facility’s kitchen.
“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.”
Although the shelter was not completely destroyed, the fire department deemed it uninhabitable, W-Underdogs founder Gracie Hamlin said.
On the bright side, W-Underdogs was in the process of moving to another facility in Atlanta, where all the animals now reside.
“He is my guardian angel,” 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.”
Hamlin knew Walker, who has been homeless since the age of 13, because she lets him keep his pitbull named Bravo at the shelter overnight.
Walker was about to pick up Bravo from the shelter and take him for a walk when he discovered the fire.
Walker was able to rescue ten cats and six dogs — all the animals in the shelter at the time.
“I can’t thank him enough for saving my animals,” Hamlin said. “I’m still in disbelief because I’ve been around a fire, and I know how fast they flare up. He is my hero.”