Get the latest from TODAY
Andrew Klein has been a firefighter with the Santa Monica Fire Department in California for 16 years, but he experienced a big first when he was called out to a burning home last week and came to the rescue of a dog named Nalu.
Nalu's owner wasn't home when the fire began, but when she returned and saw Klein and his team on the scene she informed them that her dog was inside.
Klein walked through the house once and then retraced his steps when he saw 10-year-old Nalu distressed and lying beside a bed.
“He was unresponsive and I could tell that he needed some help,” Klein told TODAY. “So I grabbed him and ran outside 'cause I knew time was of the essence — especially with a small dog like that.”
Klein was determined to save Nalu’s life. He initially applied his air pack to the dog's face, then began to give Nalu mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Klein’s captain also came over and helped provide Nalu with chest compressions. For 20 heart-wrenching minutes Klein and his captain pushed themselves as hard as they could to save Nalu’s life.
“He inhaled so much smoke that it took that long for him to come back,” said Klein.
But Nalu awakened, eliciting tears of joy from the crowd of onlookers. A photographer, Billy Fernando, was on the scene and managed to capture the emotional moment.
“If it can do anything, hopefully it can motivate people to be good to others,” said Klein. “Help each other and help someone else because there is someone who’s having a worse day than you are.”
Fortunately, Nalu didn't suffer any burn injuries — thanks to the hero firefighters who saved him.