A Hawaii man is being called a hero after saving a resident and his pets from a burning home on the mainland.

Rheece Kahawai was driving up the road, in Portland, Oregon last Thursday, when he saw smoke billowing out of a home's window.

Without hesitation, Kahawai says he turned around and pulled over to help.

"It was just my instinct.. I started knocking on the door pretty hard.. I was trying to see if anyone was in there," he said.

Kahawai told Island News a resident who had been sleeping answered the door in panic. Again without thinking twice about it, he rushed into the burning home to help the man look for his two cats and roommate.

"He started yelling for his roommate," Kahawai said. "I tried to look but I couldn't see.. there was just too much smoke in there.. I couldn't breathe at all, so I went outside of the house to see if I could see him."

After rescuing the resident's pets, Kahawai learned the roommate was not home at the time.

"I'm just glad that guy was okay and no one else was in there," he said.

Island News spoke to Kahawai's family who are here on Oahu.

Kahawai's father says he found out about his son's heroic actions via Facebook. He says he couldn't be more proud.

"That's the kind of son he is. He always helps everyone.. he always did give an extra hand no matter who they are... That's the kind of person he is," Bolo Kahawai said.

He says his son moved to Portland nearly five years ago for school and work, but was born on Oahu and grew up on the Big Island.

Bolo adds that Rheece has always stayed true to his roots.

"He always have that aloha spirit to help everybody," his father said. "You know when your from Hawaii it just never leaves.. The blood always going to have that Aloha Spirit inside of us."

Portland Fire and Rescue says the fire was contained to one bedroom.

No word yet on what started it.

"Just because it's in flames -- doesn't mean that no one is in there-- you just got to go and take a look for yourself, you never know," Kahawai said.