SANTA MONICA, CA (WCMH/AP) — A Santa Monica firefighter is being hailed a hero for saving a four-legged victim.
The dog’s owner, 35-year-old Crystal Lamirande, had just returned to her Santa Monica apartment Tuesday when a neighbor yelled there was a fire.
Lamirande says she frantically tried to save her dog, a 10-year-old Bichon Frise/Shih Tzu named Nalu. But she says the smoke was too thick.
That’s when firefighter Andrew Klein sprang into action, getting on all fours to search the apartment for Nalu as another firefighter sprayed water to keep the flames at bay. Klein found the unconscious dog a few feet from the fire in a bedroom.
“He was totally lifeless,” Klein said. “I picked him up and ran out of the apartment because time is key, especially with a small dog … Failure was not an option.”
As Lamirande knelt nearby crying, Klein and his crew spent the next 20 minutes working on reviving the dog using oxygen, CPR and what’s known as mouth-to-snout resuscitation.
Video taken by a passerby and posted on Facebook shows Klein and another firefighter patting Nalu’s belly as he starts breathing again with the help of oxygen.
“Alright, bud,” Klein tells the dog as he continues to rub him and encourage him to walk.
“It was pretty amazing because I’ve been on a number of animal rescues like this that did not come out the same way that Nalu’s story did so it was definitely a win for the whole team and the department that we got him back,” Klein said.
Lamirande ‘s apartment was destroyed by the fire, but she’s glad her best friend survived.
“I stood there in shock, and then I followed them and was in shock,” she said. “And I’m a nurse, and now I know how family members feel when they watch us do CPR on their family members. It’s awful.”
No one else was hurt in the fire.
Lamirande said Nalu spent the next 24 hours recovering in an oxygen chamber and was almost back to his normal self again Thursday.
“He’s been coughing but right now he’s fine and he’s so happy and smiling,” she said.
Klein, a self-described dog lover with two four-legged friends at home, said he felt proud of the outcome.
“He was essentially dead, so to see him kissing people and walking around wagging his tail was definitely a good feeling,” he said. “He’s very happy, and we’re very happy, too.”