Left in a burnt-out house in north west Fresno, Lucky's fate looked bleak - until firefighter Cory Kalanick caught the lifeless kitten in the beam of his torch.
Kalanick sprung into action, taking the kitten outside and using an entire tank of oxygen to resuscitate it - catching the whole thing on his helmet camera.
The video has since notched up tens of thousands of views - and turned Kalanick, an 'eco-friendly vegan' into a local hero. He told news network CBS 47: "It's a pretty cool thing that we were able to help the kitten out."
The resuscitation took all of15 minutes. Kalanick lay the kitten on his glove to protect it from the hot asphalt, poured water on it and massaged it back to life.
The nickname Lucky was given to the kitten after the incident.