Construction worker, witnesses describe fiery rescue from 5-alarm fire

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by Rucks Russell / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on March 26, 2014 at 10:39 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 26 at 11:00 PM

West Dallas apartment fire

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HOUSTON--No matter where you stood or what pictures you might have taken during Tuesday’s 5-alarm fire at a construction site in Montrose, it was almost impossible not to imagine the worse.

This was especially true for Curtis Reissig, the construction worker caught in the middle of it all.

The project foreman had gone to the roof of the building on West Dallas and Montrose Blvd to try and contain a small fire and was rapidly overcome.

“Winds started picking up” said Reissig. “The flames started spreading. So I was able to shimmy down some of the roof trusses to the 5th floor and at that point I saw smoke. I saw just a lot of smoke in there.”

Patrick Booker took recorded cell phone video from his office, which showed Reissig running across the roof.

“I was thinking that he wasn’t going to make it,” said Booker. “That was the thing and I didn’t want to see that.”

Reissig made it to the 5th floor balcony.

“I said I’m going to die right here,” said Reissig. “I thought I was going to die right there. I said God, you’ve got to save me. You’ve got to get me out of here.”

Karen Jones recorded the cell phone video from her office window.

“It was surreal,” said Jones. “It was like when you’re watching a suspense thriller and you don’t know what’s going to happen next."

Reissig believes God answered his prayers.

“He did. He did. Or I wouldn’t be standing here today.”

He’s been able to thank the firefighter who reached out his hand, and now spends time contemplating what he somehow survived.

"I'm not the hero. I was just saving my own skin. The heroes were the firemen who risked their lives to help us. They’re the heroes. I'm just a guy who was caught in a bad situation trying to escape."

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