A photo of a firefighter saving a dog has gone viral on South African social media during the tragic fires … here’s the real story behind the beautiful photo.


Fires have been raging in Somerset West since Tuesday morning with no signs of the tragedy slowing down. Raging fires that started in a mountainous area have inched closer to residential areas over the past few days.

Emergency services have remained on high alert with over 150 firefighters, Working on Fire staff, employees of the Overberg Municipality and volunteers currently on duty.

A photo of a firefighter saving a dog has been posted and re-posted and then saved and posted again by various social media users, news sites and brands who have helped the pic go viral.

And it seems that social media users in South Africa are really thankful for his hard work and dedication…

“So many unsung heroes to thank! What amazing emergency service people we have & such an incredibly supportive community! So proud to be a resident in Somerset West!”

“So pleased they helped this little pooch. I feel so sorry for the animals in Somerset West at the moment.”

“Awesome !!! Kyk die uitdrukking op die man se gesig… Julle brandweermanne moet meer betaal word!”

It’s really awesome to see the compliments when sharing the pic but we doubt the firefighter in the pic understood that last comment at all.

You see, the photo pictured above and currently doing the rounds on South Africa social media is not one of the Somerset West firefighters or volunteers… it actually has nothing to do with South Africa.

The incredible firefighter is named Mark Monaghan, and he is from Largo Fire Rescue in Tampa, Florida, USA. The pic is also originally from the 4 March 2014 and features a little pup rescued from a structure fire in Florida.

The pup also made a full recovery and Monaghan pops in to visit him regularly.

It seems that we’re not the first to figure out that the photo is not from South Africa either. Social media users have started calling the brands, news sites and individuals out, on using the emotive photo to gain likes and shares during a time of tragedy.

And in turn, the Florida photo has miraculously started vanishing from many pages and feeds that first helped it go viral. We checked… its disappearing quickly.

But as amazing as the Florida photo is… we should not dilute Monaghan’s original story or misinterpret ours.

So in honour of our South African heroes currently fighting the blaze in the Western Cape… we’ve posted an amazing collection of photos below, of some of the firefighters and volunteers in action, taken by Justin Sullivan.

sullivan-photography-1 sullivan-photography-2 sullivan-photography-3 sullivan-photography-4 sullivan-photography-5 sullivan-photography-6 sullivan-photography-7 sullivan-photography-10 sullivan-photography-11 sullivan-photography-12 sullivan-photography-13 sullivan-photography-14 sullivan-photography-15 sullivan-photography-16 sullivan-photography-17 sullivan-photography-18 sullivan-photography-19 sullivan-photography-20 sullivan-photography-21 sullivan-photography-22 sullivan-photography-23


Sources:  Firefighter Nation | Sullivan Photography
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Brent Lindeque
About the Author

Brent Lindeque is the founder and man in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

1 comment

  1. Thank You to all who risk their lives in the fire department and to see such a beautiful photo of one who shows care for animals. I salute you all. May God bless you all.

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