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Fast-Thinking Worker Rescued in Blaze

Friday, March 28, 2014

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In a daring effort caught on video, a 56-year-old construction worker managed to escape a blazing apartment complex just seconds before it collapsed Tuesday (March 25) in Houston.

Curtis Reissig’s courageous leap to a lower-level balcony and ladder rescue was captured on a cell-phone video recorder from a nearby office building.

The nearly completed $50 million Axis apartment complex caught fire about 12:30 p.m., according to reports.

A cause for the five-alarm blaze, which leveled much of the building, is under investigation, authorities say.

Trapped on Balcony

The construction worker—an employee of the project's developers JLB Partners—told reporters that he had made his way to the roof with a fire extinguisher when the fire was reported.

However, strong winds quickly spread the flames across the roof.

Newsflare / Karen Jones

The video shows Curtis Reissig's leap to a lower-level balcony and ladder rescue during the massive construction fire.

At that point, Reissig looked for a way out. He found a door to one of the units and stepped outside onto its balcony.

“I thought, ‘Ah, fresh air.’ And then I look up, and I see to my right all the flames on the building were that close,” Reissig told the Associated Press.

“The flames were getting closer and hotter. I knew I had to do something. So I swung down to the lower floor,” he said.

Rescue Executed

Once Reissig reached the lower floor, the fire truck ladder was able to reach him and a rescuer helped bring him to safety, the video shows.

He was rescued “pretty much seconds before the fire would have overtaken him,” Houston Fire Department Capt. Ruy Lozano told the Houston Chronicle.

Reissig’s workday ended with only minor burns to his face and hand, AP reported. No other injuries were reported.

The apartment fire comes just two weeks after a $227 million apartment building under construction went down in a massive blaze in San Francisco.


Tagged categories: Accidents; Condominiums/High-Rise Residential; Fire; Health and safety; Residential Construction

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