West Philadelphia High-Rise Fire: Watch Man Climb 15 Stories to Escape

NBC 10

A man climbed 15 stories down a West Philadelphia high rise to escape a fire Thursday night. The escape was caught on video by news helicopters.

The man, who has not yet been identified, did not appear to be injured.

It took the man about 3 minutes to scale the building, which was filled with smoke and evacuated. Police and firefighters met the man once he made it safely to the ground. News helicopters captured the video and shined their lights on the path so he could safely make his way down the building in the dark. He was standing on the balcony before he started his climb.

The fire started at about 9:30 p.m. at 4445 Holden Street, NBC 10 Philadelphia reported. The fire was under control at about 11 p.m., 1 1/2 hours after the fire started. The Philadelphia Housing Authority building houses families and older adults, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Several people who lived in the high-rise building had been rescued at about 11 p.m. Four people suffered smoke inhalation, along with three officers suffering from smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion, 6 ABC reporter Christie Ileto wrote on Twitter.

She said on her newscast the building is public housing. The fire was out at about 11:15 p.m. The building was immediately evacuated for the fire, which started on the first floor and traveled up the building through a trash chute, causing smoke to pour into the hallways.


Here’s what you need to know:

Man Escaped Fire By Climbing 15 Stories Down

A man escaped his smoke-filled home in a Philadelphia Housing Authority building in West Philadephia by scaling 15 stories of the building. He appeared to make the climb safely. His climb was captured by news helicopters, which shined lights on his path so he could find footholds in the dark. Several reporters on the scene watched the man scale the wall, describing the scene as “tense” and “death-defying.” The climb took about three minutes.

The man, who has not been identified, was met with police and firefighters on the ground. The building is 19 stories high.

6 ABC News shared a video of the climb on Twitter, writing, “HIGH-RISE FIRE: A man is seen scaling down a 19-story apartment building after a fire in West Philadelphia.”

Residents, First Responders Suffered Smoke Inhalation

At least four people who lived in the West Philadelphia high-rise suffered smoke inhalation. At least three first responders also suffered smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion. There were no immediate reports of death or serious injuries.

The building, part of the Philadelphia Housing Authority, houses families and older adults. The fire was reported at about 9:30 a.m. It started in the trash room on the first floor. Smoke poured through the building as flames shot through the trash chute.

6 ABC reporter Christie Ileto wrote on Twitter, “Officials say fire started in the trash room on the first floor. Flames shot up the trash shute to the top floors, heavy smoke then poured into hallways. 4 residents suffered smoke inhalation, 3 first responders had to be treated for that as well as heat exhaustion.”

Read More