Homeless Man Saves Dozens of Cats and Dogs After Animal Shelter Catches Fire

A homeless man has saved more than a dozen rescue animals from almost-certain death after a shelter caught fire just before Christmas.

Keith Walker, 53, rushed into the burning property after seeing smoke billowing from beneath the door at the animal home in Atlanta on December 18.

Dozens of helpless animals were trapped in cages inside the W-underdogs building in the southwest of the city.

"The house was on fire, and all the dogs were in the house," Walker told Fox 5. "I just popped the door open, went in, and started letting the dogs out."

This is Keith Walker.

He's homeless.

He was picking up his dog from an animal shelter in Atlanta when he saw it engulfed in flames.

He ran inside the burning building and rescued each and every animal - all sixteen of them.

Not all heroes wear capes.

(📸 W-Underdogs) pic.twitter.com/L5qVTIg0Zy

— Goodable (@Goodable) December 28, 2020

Walker, who has been homeless since the age of 13, rescued ten cats and six dogs from the inferno.

"I was nervous as hell, I'm not going to lie," he told CNN. "I was really scared to go in there with all that smoke. But God put me there to save those animals ... 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."

Shelter founder Gracie Hamli, said she was racing to the scene in a panic and feared the worst.

"Animal control is talking to us on the phone and they're saying he's just rushing in getting one dog at a time," she said. "Animal control was able to grab a couple from him."

Hamlin has since set up a GoFundMe page in order to raise funds to restore the building and replace supplies lost in the fire.

"Yesterday afternoon while out picking up supply donations I received a call that my home, and W-Underdogs headquarters, had caught fire," she wrote in a Facebook post. "We are so lucky all the animals were able to be evacuated and no lives - animal or human - were lost. Our animals and youth are scared and confused and we are pouring love into them to help them recover."

"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," Keith Walker said. https://t.co/HXHVL8WG0a

— CNN (@CNN) December 27, 2020

Hamlin, who lets Walker keep his dog Bravo at the shelter, described him as her "guardian angel."

"Even the firefighters didn't want to handle the dogs," she said. "They called animal control, but Keith was already in the building pulling out the cats and dogs until they were all safe."

Hamlin says the shelter is in contact with Walker and is working to assist him after an outpouring of community support sought to send donations to the homeless man.

"He is refusing all offers of help but we are determined," she wrote in an update to the GoFundMe campaign page on Monday. "He is a vital part of our community and we will continue to work with him so he is appropriately rewarded for his selfless efforts."

The Atlanta Fire Department has since determined the fire was caused by an electrical fault.

Walker knows how important the animals are, relying on his pitbull sidekick Bravo for support.

"Hey, I love my dog and my dog's my best friend, for real," he told Fox 5. "If god wakes me up and I got my dog, I'm good."

Newsweek has contacted W-underdogs Atlanta and Gracie Hamlin for comment.

Animal Shelter
File photo: A stray dog arrives at the Washington Animal Rescue League shelter on March 27 as more than a dozen animals were rescued from almost-certain death after a shelter in Atlanta caught fire just before Christmas. Chip Somodevilla/Getty