The incredible fire rescue of a gutsy construction worker who made a death-defying move to save himself and the guys who brought him to safety in the nick-of-time has the whole country marveling over the affair.
Curtis Reissig was trapped on the fifth floor balcony of a new $50 million apartment complex in Houston as the blaze raged out of control.
He told INSIDE EDITION, "It was much worse than I thought."
The flames knocked a window off the building. The heat was so intense that Curtis wasn’t sure if the rescue ladder coming to save him would reach him in time.
When watching video of the rescue, INSIDE EDITION’s Les Trent asked Reissig, "What are you thinking now?"
He replied, "I'm thinking the fire's raging faster than they can get to me."
There was just one thing for him to do—dangle off the balcony, swing his legs, and drop to the fourth floor balcony.
He said, "It's the only option. I didn't want to do it. I said I’d say a prayer, drop down, and hit the deck."
It worked! Dwayne Wyble, the firefighter operating the rescue ladder on the ground, now realized he was within range of him.
Wyble said, "He made our job easier by dropping down that one level."
Still, the ladder was two feet shy of the mark. It was up to Captain Brad Hawthorne to get Reissig.
Hawthorne said, "I kind of tell him to 'Hold on,' he starts to move to the right. Within four or five seconds, the whole fifth floor collapses.”
Reissig suffered second-degree burns on his hand and ear, and he actually went back to work after the rescue.
He's forever grateful to the guys who saved his life with seconds to spare.
Hawthorne said, "Everything had to come together. A little bit of luck, Curtis being the trapeze artist he is, it all played a part!"
The fire may have been caused by sparks from a welding torch. The entire $50 million apartment complex has been destroyed.