Houston firefighters made a daring rescue of a construction worker trapped on an upper balcony of an under-construction apartment complex as a raging fire nearly trapped the man. The helmeted worker stood on an upper-floor balcony Tuesday as a five-alarm fire engulfed the $50 million, 396-unit apartment complex at W. Dallas and Marconi Sts. in downtown Houston.
The worker waved for help before hanging down and jumping to a lower balcony as the inferno became too intense.
Firefighters got the ladder in place just in time. As the worker climbed aboard and the ladder was moved away from the building, the burning walls began to fall, crashing down where the construction worker and firefighter had been just moments before.
No injuries were reported in the blaze, which officials believe was sparked by workers welding on the roof.
The incredible inferno was seen raging from miles away as it completely overtook the luxury building that was just months from completion.
More than 80 units and 200 personnel with the Houston Fire Department were dispatched to the scene, according to authorities.
"We had to rescue one construction worker ... (he) was at the point of jumping," Capt. Ruy Lozano told KPRC.
Houston fire officials, who reported all construction workers as accounted for, were dispatched to the scene at about 1:30 p.m.
With the help of wind gusts reportedly up to 25 mph, within 30 minutes the fire had upgraded from a three-alarm to a four-alarm fire.
"The fire is heavily wind-driven and firefighters are working to protect nearby structures," the fire department stated.
Ironically, the 396 unit building has drawn heat long before Tuesday's fire.
As KHOU reported it was built just feet away from century-old headstones in Magnolia cemetery.
Houston resident Trisha Keel vented to the station: “I could sit on their patio and prop my feet on top of the gravestone. It’s too close."
Written and photos by Sasha Goldstein