SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A Maine-born artist who once rescued a drowning woman died from injuries he sustained four months ago while saving a friend’s dog from a burning house.

Michael James Keenan, 44, died Monday of complications from burns at St. Francis Memorial Hospital. He sustained burns over 80 percent of his body in February when he rescued a Jack Russell terrier from a Russian Hill home.

“He was the kind of guy who would walk into any pub and walk out with 15 friends,” said Owen Kelly, a childhood friend.

For several weeks after he was injured, friends and family were optimistic Keenan would recover. Doctors initially said his chances of survival were 50-50.

Friends of Keenan, who grew up in Yarmouth, Maine, established a fund to help pay for his hospital expenses.

But Kelly said Keenan recently came down with an infection and suffered a stroke Sunday night. He was pronounced brain dead Monday.

The dog Kelly saved survived after being treated at a local animal hospital.

The rescue was the second time Kelly performed an act of heroism.

On Christmas Day 2001, he saw a car drive into San Francisco Bay and jumped in to save the couple inside the car, using a wrench to smash the back window. He was able to pull the wife out, but her husband drowned.

Keenan is survived by his stepbrother, father, stepmother and an aunt and uncle.


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