Dramatic Rescue From Houston Inferno
In a daring escape you are unlikely to see anywhere outside of a movie or TV show ever again, a construction worker who was trapped on the balcony of a burning building was brought to safety – and it was all caught on camera.
A large apartment complex in Houston, Texas, was a mere couple of months away from completion when it caught fire on Tuesday earlier this week. “There was a report of a couple of guys working on the roof doing welding,” explained Houston Fire Department (HFD) Deputy Chief Greg Lewis. “When our units arrived, there was a small fire and construction workers were attempting to put it out.”
Although no official cause of the blaze has been established, it is thought to been sparked by the welding on the roof. The fire was first reported at half past 12 in the afternoon, local time, but within an hour had been upgraded to the highest level of alarm, making it a five-alarm fire, due to the 25mph (40kmph) winds whipping and spreading the fire throughout the building.
The only people inside the building had been construction workers, and all escaped safely – except for one. Eyewitnesses in a building across from the inferno watched as the remaining worker, who has not been named, tried to douse flames on the roof with a fire extinguisher.
The wind whipped the fire around him, and suddenly the man was trapped on the fifth floor balcony, with nowhere to go but down. One of the eyewitnesses, Karen Jones, started videoing the scene. “When we saw his foot slip, it was like, ‘uhhh, oh God, he’s going to fall!’,” she said.
The video footage shows the man realising that he had to move as the fire spread towards him and so dangled himself from the fifth floor balcony, and swinging himself on the balcony of the floor below. At this point, you can see a fire truck ladder extending into the frame, and so the worker crawls to the edge of the balcony. The ladder comes closer to him and he reaches out to pull himself onto it, with a firefighter there to help him.
As the firetruck – ladder still extended with the rescued man clinging on – moves away from the building, literally seconds after the man is rescued, the building is devoured by fire and the roof collapses.
Almost two and a half hours after it was first reported, the firefighters declared the blaze under control, and started protecting the nearby buildings. The fire was reportedly seen for miles around and the apartment complex was completely gutted.
The construction worker, on the other hand, was treated at the scene after he was rescued and then released to go home. And now he has an amazing story to tell for many years to come.
If you want to watch the incredible video, click this link.