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During the devastating Paradise fires in California last November, Ryan Coleman, a firefighter, found an unexpected new friend while battling the blaze. He rescued a cat from the inferno, forming an unanticipated bond.

The Paradise fire, the deadliest in California’s history and the 6th most fatal in the entire United States, ravaged 86 targets and caused the loss of more than 14,000 homes. Amidst the destruction and tragedy, a glimmer of hope emerged for Ryan in the form of a distressed gray cat.

As the fire ignited on November 8th and blazed through Butte County, California, for 17 days, firefighters struggled to contain it fully. Ryan was sifting through the debris and wreckage in the burnt marsh when a large, friendly cat approached him. With numerous homes lost to the fires, many pets, livestock, and wildlife were abandoned or lost. This gray fluff-ball’s appearance was undoubtedly a welcome sight.

The firefighter quickly snapped a heartwarming photo of the cat, eager to greet him. It seemed that this cat recognized Ryan as a savior amidst the chaos caused by the terrifying fire. The cat wasted no time in coming near him, showing its trust and need for comfort.

Clearly, the cat saw Ryan as its protector and didn’t hesitate to cling to him. The cat’s desperate need for safety was evident, and Ryan willingly embraced his newfound feline companion. He shared a quick video and pictures on his Facebook page on November 18th, capturing the moment and writing, “Cat rescue. She simply chilled on my neck and shoulders as I would certainly walk around!”

Amidst the growing and raging fires, it’s no surprise that the cat sought solace in Ryan’s presence. Exhausted from fighting the wildfires for several days, Ryan gladly embraced the love and companionship offered by the cat resting on his shoulders.

The video attached to the post showcases the excited cat showering Ryan with affection, rubbing its head against his face and nuzzling his stubbly beard. In the midst of one of the most damaging and dangerous wildfires in the nation’s history, it’s heartwarming to witness our heroes, like Ryan, receive the love and gratitude they deserve from non-human companions who might have otherwise been lost without them.