HOUSTON — A cellphone video shows the dramatic rescue of a worker from a burning Houston apartment complex that was under construction.
Karen Jones shot the video on Tuesday from her nearby office as the fire consumed the planned $50 million luxury apartment complex.
It shows the worker pacing on a small fifth-floor balcony with the inferno consuming the floor behind him. With nowhere else to go, he lowers himself over the edge, swings his legs and lands on the edge of the balcony below.
The worker manages to crawl to a firefighter on an extension ladder moments before a burning section of wall collapses next to them.
The fire is under investigation, but authorities believe it likely started on the roof during welding.
The Houston Fire Department said the blaze that sent thick, black smoke billowing in to the sky and drew hundreds of emergency personnel was “under control” about 2½ hours after it started.
All construction workers who had been in the high-rise building were accounted for, and no injuries have been reported.
Fire officials said more than 200 emergency personnel responded to the scene.
Fire Capt. Ruy Lozano told the Houston Chronicle that high winds caused the fire to spread quickly. The dramatic blaze first was reported about 12:30 p.m. The fire was upgraded to a five-alarm call about an hour later.
Much of the building was reduced to rubble Tuesday.
Lash LaRue told the newspaper that he was installing phone lines on the fifth floor of the building when he heard a loud crash and then saw the ceiling collapsing and flames shooting through.
“It was wicked,” LaRue said.