As firefighters yelled for him to turn back, Jose Guzman from Pala, California rushed into his burning home to save a trapped dog.
And now that his act of heroism has gone viral, Guzman says he would risk death again for his beloved pit bull, Gabanna.
Guzman, his fiance, and their three daughters under the age of 6 were at a family barbecue when they heard a house in their neighborhood had caught fire.
Driving home to check on his home just in case, Guzman found that a fire on his neighbor’s property had spread to his house. The blaze was so big that firefighters had actually run out of water and were waiting for backup.
The pet lover knew his dog was trapped inside the home and refused to risk her life, even as firefighters warned him to stay out of the house.
“I wasn’t going to let her die like that,” Guzman said.
Guzman told People he knew “something could’ve happened to me or both of us,” but that “didn’t go through my mind” when he saw the burning home.
“That dog is part of my family. She’s been with us through downs and ups and I couldn’t leave her there. I would do it again if I had to; I would do it for anybody in my family.”
Luckily, Gabanna is a very smart dog. She had curled up under a toilet in the only room of the house that wasn’t on fire.
“I ran through the curtain of fire and made my way through the smoke to the back of the house, where I had her chained up,” Guzman said.
“It was hard for me to get her leash unhooked, but I managed to get her loose and we both ran out towards the driveway.”
The son of Guzman’s landlord caught the rescue on video, and said he thought Guzman as “a goner” as he ran into the burning building.
While firefighters were not pleased with Guzman’s act of daring, animal lovers from around the world are celebrating his courage.
Guzman’s family members told People they’re proud of Guzman for rescuing his dog, but not surprised by his good deed.
“He’s the person that would do that for anybody,” his fiance Adriana Lopez said. “He’s a loving dad, a loving son, a loving brother.”
While they’re alive and well, both Guzman and his dog suffered burns. He has second-degree burns on his face, one of his ears, and along his right side, while Gabanna has burns on her nose and paw.
The family’s home, two cars, and the tools Guzman relies on for his livelihood were also completely destroyed by the fire.
The Guzmans are currently living with Jose’s sister Roxana, who has set up a GoFundMe page to help them get back on their feet.