Kelly Jernigan recently lost her rescue dog, a doberman named Zion, to cancer.
Less than a day later, Jernigan had to put her grief for her furry family member aside to battle an apartment fire. She's a captain in the Winston-Salem Fire Department.
“Of course, the first thing we do is start looking for victims,” Jernigan told WGHP.
Jernigan and her fellow firefighters moved through the apartment building looking for anyone still trapped inside.
Then they heard barking.
Cinnamon, a small, blond dog was trapped in an apartment and Jernigan was able to reach her to get her out. But it wasn't easy.
“Just getting her, you can tell she’s very skittish and I would be too. You know, somebody coming up looking like this with helmets and gloves,” Jernigan told WGHP.
Jernigan stood holding Cinnamon in her arms and comforting the skittish dog, then fashioned a makeshift leash for her while she waited for her owner to get back to the burning apartments.
And rescuing Cinnamon came at a good time for Jernigan, she said, in light of losing Zion.
"It kind of helps me heal," she said. “Once I got my hands on this one, it’s like all is right with the world."
Cinnamon was reunited with her thankful owner, Ann Love, according to ABC11.
Three people were displaced by the Conley Street fire, which started in a utility building and spread to the apartments, according to the department. No one was injured, and the cause of the fire had not been determined as of Thursday.