Firefighters don't come any more dedicated than Tim Tawater, who was off duty and driving to his daughter's birthday party on Saturday when he spotted clouds of smoke and followed them to a burning home. He was the first firefighter on the scene in the Nashville suburb of White House and, after conducting a primary search to make sure nobody was in the home, went back inside to rescue a dog that ran in as he approached it, the Tennessean reports. A neighbor recorded the anxious moments before Tawater emerged from the blazing house carrying the 85-pound dog. Tawater took off soon afterward and was only identified when a relative saw video of the rescue online.
"If someone has a dog that big in the house, it means that dog is family," Tawater tells the Tennessean. "I couldn't do anything about the property, but I could save that dog. I thought it was worth a chance." Tawater, 49, has been with the Nashville Fire Department for 20 years and says he hopes the attention dies down soon. "I'd rather no one know it was me. That's why I left before everyone got there on Saturday," he says. "Firefighters don't do what we do for ourselves. We do it because we want to help others." The homeowners, who had been away celebrating a wedding anniversary, met Tawater and thanked him this week. "He didn't have to go into a house that was on fire," Brandon Gorley tells WSMV. "Deeply, deeply appreciate him being there."