Former Marine channels training to rescue animals from Carr Fire
REDDING, Calif. —
As firefighters and first responders were risking their lives during the Carr Fire, one man stepped in to rescue the hundreds of livestock animals left behind that owners did not have time to save.
His efforts even earned him a special honor from an animal rights organization.
"I didn't want to hear over the news or radio stations or people telling me. I wanted to go see what the fire was doing so I headed directly to it," said Zimmerman.
As a former Marine, Zimmerman traded his uniform in for t-shirts and jeans long ago. But when the Carr Fire threatened his friends and family in July, he ended up channeling that military training once again to save hundreds of animals.
"I'm running through fires. There's smoke on my left and my right hand side," said Zimmerman.
Zimmerman risked his life to save livestock with his truck and trailer, while also helping to set up rescue locations for the animals to go to.
In total, he personally saved nearly 50 animals but helped hundreds more.
"It was free of charge. We fed them, watered them. Took care of exercise, trimmed hooves, the vets went through and gave us a diet plan and exercise plan for some of these animals too," said Zimmerman.
Stacie Stone was one of the nearly 100 volunteers who helped Zimmerman at the fairgrounds, cleaning and looking after the animals.
"Everybody was really really grateful. Great people, great experience. It was really heart warming for me," said Stone. "And it was really inspiring to me... And they were super friendly and appreciative of everything."
She said she's grateful for everything Zimmerman did during the fire, but she's not the only one.
Days after the incident, PETA recognized Zimmerman with a Compassionate Action Award for his contributions during the Carr Fire.
However, from Zimmerman's point of view, this award isn't just for him.
"It was the people around me that the award's for. And so it's my community," said Zimmerman.