Winston-Salem firefighter saves dog from fire the day after losing her dog to cancer

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Kelly Jernigan is not only a captain with the Winston-Salem Fire Department but also an animal lover, which is why her latest heroic act comes as no surprise.

Just 24 hours after losing her dog to cancer, she gave another pup a second chance at life.

About three years ago, Jernigan recused two Dobermans. One was named Zion.

On Tuesday, Zion, who they estimated at about 11 years old, had to be put down.

While fighting to stay strong, Jernigan knew she couldn't let it affect her job.

But, when Jernigan and other firefighters got called out to Conley Street for an apartment fire, she had to put the memories of Zion in the back of her mind.

Stay on top of breaking news stories with the ABC11 News App

"Of course, the first thing we do is start looking for victims," she told WGHP.

While they were clearing apartments, the crew heard barking inside one of them from little pup named Cinnamon.

The firefighters were able to calm her down and Jernigan couldn't help but wrap her up in her arms.

"It's kind of good timing for me," Jernigan said. "It kind of helps me heal."

Less than 24 hours after Zion's death, Jernigan had found the comfort she needed in the companionship of a dog she'd never met before.

"Once I got my hands on this one, it's like all is right with the world," she said.

Cinnamon was reunited with her owner. No injuries were reported.