Southern California

Man Rescues Rabbit From Burning Freeway, Becomes Beloved Viral Sensation

The animal lover dropped the rabbit off in a safer area after he was able to get a hold of the small critter

Editor’s Note: On Thursday, Oscar Gonzalez’s girlfriend contacted NBC4 and said he was the man caught on video rescuing a rabbit. He did an interview with the station describing what happened. NBC4 followed up with Gonzalez and his girlfriend Saturday after reports surfaced claiming Gonzalez was not the man caught on the viral video. They still insist he was the one seen in the video. An enhanced image from the original video makes it clear Caleb Wadnan is the person seen in the video. Our interview with Wadnan can be seen here.

One man inadvertently captured the hearts of thousands of people when he saved a rabbit from the unforgiving Thomas Fire, one of the multiple blazes scorching through Southern California.

Pacoima resident Oscar Gonzales was driving through the fire after work when he and his friend both spotted the white rabbit frantically running along the burning freeway. That’s when Gonzales decided to pull over to help the small animal.

"I love animals myself," he said. "I didn’t want the rabbit to go through the fire."

Not only was the white rabbit panicked, but Gonzales was also as he noticed the animal was running towards the flames. Despite his apprehension, he continued his effort to save the little critter.

"I was yelling, 'What are you doing?'" the rabbit’s hero said.

He explained that he was jumping up and down in an effort to get the animal’s attention to stop it from running into the fire.

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

After successfully getting a hold of the animal, Gonzales dropped it off in a safer area where there were no flames. The rabbit then scurried away.

"There were actually two rabbits," he said. "One was the white rabbit and the other was black with white spots."

He found out that he became a viral sensation from various social media sites and his friends asking if that was him in the video.

Gonzales did not tell his wife of his good deed at first.

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