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Man who saved rabbit from California wildfires explains his decision

by Kara Taylor /  / Updated 
Image: A man pulled over on Highway 1 near La Conchita, California, to rescue a wild rabbit from the flames of the Thomas Fire.
A man pulled over on Highway 1 near La Conchita, California, to rescue a wild rabbit from the flames of the Thomas Fire.RMG News

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Editor’s Note: NBC Los Angeles, which did the original interview with Oscar Gonzalez after being contacted by his girlfriend, now believes that Gonzalez is not the man seen in the viral rabbit video. While Gonzalez and his girlfriend still insist he was in the video, NBC Los Angeles now believes that an enhanced image from the original video makes it clear that Caleb Wadnan is person who rescued the animal. Their interview with Wadnan can be seen here.

During a time of devastation and wreckage, one man provided some hope when he saved a rabbit from a raging California wildfire.

Oscar Gonzales, a Pacoima resident, and his friend spotted the white rabbit while driving through the fire after work. The rabbit was desperately running down flame engulfed Highway 1 when Gonzales decided to pull over and help the small animal.

"I love animals myself," he told NBC News Los Angeles. "I didn’t want the rabbit to go through the fire."

In only shorts and a hoodie, Gonzales fearlessly raced towards the fire in an effort to save the animal. He jumped up and down while clutching his head, pleading for the rabbit to come to him.

He explained that his panicked actions were meant to get the animal’s attention and stop it from running towards the inferno.

"I was yelling, 'What are you doing?'" Gonzales said.

The rabbit first appeared apprehensive, but this didn’t deter Gonzales. Finally, the rabbit ran away from the flaming bushes into the arms of its rescuer.

“At first he was afraid of me because I was yelling, but then it went in my arms,” Gonzales said.

Once Gonzales retrieved the animal, he dropped it off in a safer area where there were no flames and the rabbit dashed away.

He later came to realize that his act of kindness went viral from various social media sites and friends asking if that was him in the video. People began sharing the video proclaiming their faith in humanity had been restored.

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