​Construction Worker Describes Escape From Burning Houston Apartment

On Tuesday, Curtis Reissig found himself trapped on the fifth-floor balcony of a burning apartment building. "The flames were getting closer and hotter," he told the Associated Press. "I knew I had to do something."

Ressig leapt to the balcony below, where firefighters rescued him just seconds before part of the building collapsed.

"In my mind I was ... going through all the scenarios. What can I do? How am I going to drop? How am I going to swing? And I wanted another swing. But I knew I didn't have time because it was so hot. I took one swing," Reissig said.

When fire broke out, Ressig was eating lunch outside the still-under-construction apartment complex. He ran to the building's roof with a fire extinguisher, but he fire quickly spread, forcing Ressig to the building's fifth floor.

"At that point I saw a lot of smoke. ... It started burning my eyes, my throat. I couldn't breathe," he said, adding that he thought he was going to die. Then he spotted a door to one of the building's balconies.

"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. It was just amazing it had gone up that fast," he said.

Karen Jones, an office worker at a neighboring building, captured Ressig's rescue on her cell phone.

"We were terrified for him," she said. "It was totally surreal ... like watching a suspense thriller on television."

Fire Capt. Brad Hawthorne, the firefighter on the ladder, said Ressig's decision to "Spiderman it down one landing" saved him from injury, or worse.

"If he had stayed up there, he would have had third-degree burns," Hawthorne said.

​Construction Worker Describes Escape From Burning Houston Apartment