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Homeless man rescues animals from burning shelter

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Homeless man rescues animals from burning shelter (Photo: KABC via CNN Newsource)

ATLANTA (WKRC) — A homeless man is being called a hero after he bravely saved several cats and dogs from an animal shelter after it caught fire.

Keith Walker, 53, risked his life and rushed into the W-Underdogs animal shelter after a fire began in the 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," said Walker.

Walker was on the way to pick up his pitbull, Bravo, to take him for a walk when he saw the fire. He was able to rescue six dogs and 10 cats.

"If you love a dog, you can love anyone in the world," he said. "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."

Rescue groups that arrived later determined that it was an electrical fire. The rescue workers were out picking up supply donations for the animals when it started.

The founder of W-Underdogs, Gracie Hamlin, already knew Walker, who has been homeless since he was 13 years old. She lets him keep his dog, Bravo, at the shelter at night so he doesn't get too cold.

"He is my guardian angel," said Hamlin. "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."

The shelter wasn't completely destroyed, but was no longer inhabitable. Luckily, W-Underdogs was already in the process of moving to a new locations, where the animals now reside.

As a token of appreciation, W-Underdogs is now searching for an organization that works with the homeless community to be Walker's advocate and help make sure he is safe, happy, and healthy.

"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."

A GoFundMe page has been set up for donations to help Walker. Another page has also been set up for the animal rescue group.