A local homeless man saves the day when he rescued every cat and dog at a burning animal shelter
On December 18, 2020 a fire erupted in the kitchen at an animal shelter in Atlanta, Georgia and a local homeless man stepped in before firefighters even arrived and rescued every animal in the shelter before the fire potentially blazed out of control.
CNN reports that Keith Walker, 53 — who has been without housing for most of his life — has a pet pitbull named Bravo who sleeps at W-Underdogs shelter in Atlanta every night. Walker was on his way to take his pup out for a walk when he saw the fire and immediately sprung to action, rescuing the animals trapped inside.
“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.”
“Tonight we thank our guardian angels,” the shelter wrote in a Facebook post. “The homeless man that ran into our burning house and rescued our animals. The fire department and @fultonanimalservices officers MJ and Joan for quick action. Our animals are safe and thanks to the incredible response from the community, everyone is settled and safe warm and secure.”
The shelter’s founder Gracie Hamlin — who revealed in a GoFundMe that she’s known Walker for years and has given him odd-jobs at the shelter in the past — says that his heroic feat saved the shelter pets.
“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,” she told CNN.
All together, Walker was able to save six dogs and 10 cats. To date, a GoFundMe set up in Walker’s honor has raised $58,073 and the organizer Frank Cote says he’s working on the best way to transfer the funds to Mr. Walker that will “protect his interests” as Mr. Walker’s lifelong struggle with homelessness is “complicated and will require careful planning.”
“I can’t thank him enough for saving my animals,” Hamlin added. “I’m still in disbelief, because I’ve been around a fire and I know how fast they flare up. He is my hero.”