Tim Tawater was on his way to a party when he saw smoke pluming from a house and felt compelled to help. He ended up risking his life to save a dog that belonged to a family he never had met. He didn’t know it at the time, but someone was filming his heroic actions from across the street.
Tim, a veteran Nashville firefighter, was off-duty at the time, but he couldn’t just drive by and do nothing. “Most firemen are attracted to smoke,” Tawater told USA Today. “Honestly, it’s like a dog to a bone. We just can’t get away from it.”
He arrived at the home before the emergency responders did and went inside to check the home. He did not find any people inside, but when he came back out he noticed a large dog standing at the door. He approached the dog, but the pet ran back into the home.
“If someone has a dog that big in the house, it means that dog is family,” Tawater said. He noticed that the dog, a bouvier des Flandres, weighed roughly 85 pounds. “I couldn’t do anything about the property, but I could save that dog. I thought it was worth a chance.”
Tawater went back into the burning home and was able to grab the dog and escape the home just as the roof collapsed behind him. When emergency responders arrived 15 minute later, Tawater had already left, prompting many to wonder just who was the heroic stranger who saved the family’s dog?
Eventually, Tawater was tracked down and has met the family twice since the fire. The humble firefighter and dog savior said he would have rather no one knew it was him, before adding “Firefighters don’t do what we do for ourselves. We do it because we want to help others.”