Chihuahua found alive in SF fire ruins

May 5, 2011 6:20:31 PM PDT
Something good happened from a terrible fire in San Francisco at 7th and Folsom that injured six people and left more than 70 homeless. Firefighters going through the building found a terrified little Chihuahua, alive but hiding.

Fire investigators have yet to find a cause for the fire. Whatever the cause, it caused a great deal of grief for the people who live in the building.

Ask anyone who has been through a trauma, and he or she will tell you that aftermath is exhausting.

"I think we are in a state of shock," said fire victim Keith Rosbach. His sentiments were echoed by others who survived the flames when the Park Hotel ignited Wednesday night in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood. They watched their belongings turn to smoke.

Thursday morning Rosbach, his girlfriend, and others, filled up a Red Cross shelter, waiting for help and guidance.

"We just got done paying rent two days ago -- $700," said Rosbach.

Among the other victims, a small Chihuahua which firemen pulled from the burned building Thursday and sent him to animal control, where he quivered in a cage all morning. If only Rolando Walker had known sooner. He kept asking rescuers about a brown dog and told the story of how flames came through the floor just before being separated.

"When the firemen came, they kicked at my door, he jumped out of my arms and he ran underneath the bed, and I tried to get him, but the firemen wouldn't let me and the firemen just grabbed me and pulled me out," recalled Walker.

Those firemen found Paco cowering in a closet. Thursday, Walker found Paco, safe, but smoky. The fire burned everything he owned, but he still has his best friend, and in the tiring ordeal called aftermath, that is more than a small comfort.

"This is the most important thing to me in the world. My little boy right here," said Walker. "And I am so happy that he made it through and survived, I don't know how -- by the grace of God."

The Red Cross has found 60 hotel rooms for displaced fire victims. Those had already paid rent, will have that rent honored by those new hotels.

One final note -- Walker is a disabled veteran, and one of the few survivors among 241 American servicemen who died when a truck bomb blew up their barracks in Beirut in 1983.

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