MODESTO, CA (KXTV) - A Stanislaus Consolidated Fire District captain rushed through flames Thursday morning to save a dog trapped inside a burning barn.
While another firefighter sprayed water toward the dog, Capt. Les Porter dove under a boat that was fully engulfed to unchain the animal from a dog run.
The pit bull named Moe suffered burns on the pad of his left rear paw, but was otherwise unharmed.
"I can't put into words how grateful I am," said Moe's owner, Tim Chandler, who said he keeps the dog in the barn at night to protect equipment he uses in his landscaping business.
"A lot of people would think it's just a dog, but he approached him like a human being," Chandler said.
Chandler said he and his wife Tiffany were alerted to the fire at 5:30 a.m. by a passing motorist and panicked when they couldn't get inside the barn.
"The heat from the fire just blew me backwards. The only thing we could think of was the dog."
Capt. Porter told News10 he initially thought the dog was dead because of the intensity of the fire when the crew arrived.
"It turned out he didn't suffer from smoke inhalation because he was so low to the ground," he said.
Porter said he couldn't see the latch and struggled with the chain for about a minute before he was able to free Moe, who immediately ran from the barn after being released.
Porter, 53, has three dogs of his own and said rescuing Moe was second nature.
"I'm kind of partial to dogs," he said. "I like them more than some people."
Chandler said said there was no electricity to the barn and the fire marshal was still on the property late Thursday morning trying to determine the cause of the fire.