Get Out Alive: Escaping a burning building

- How would you get out alive from a burning building?

What do you know about pressure? FOX 46 Charlotte is learning what more than 100 pounds per square inch of water pressure feels like.

It was just the beginning as our crew headed into a burning building with the Gastonia Fire Department.  

Deputy Chief Mark Rutherford suited our crew up in 60 pounds of gear.

Related: Get Out Alive: Surviving a campus assault

Blistering flames were inside the Burn House along with blinding smoke. If you’re claustrophobic this job is not for you.

Firefighters said the only thing to expect is the unexpected.

“We never really know where we’re going. Where we’re going to work, what we’ll have when we get there. It’s just nothing consistent,” one crew member said.

“I’ve been doing this since 1985,” another firefighter said. “’Do you still get that rush every time you go inside?’ Yes.”

The fire department explained they go into the fire slowly – and it ultimately makes them faster because they make less mistakes.  

Our crew learned this the hard way as FOX 46’s David Sentendrey held the hose the wrong way, throwing him to the ground.

Fire officials said it’s easy to set your eyes on the flames in front of you.

“Young firefighter gets off the truck; he’s got a set of blinders on. He sees the fire and wants to go straight to it,” a crew member explained.

But from oxygen levels, to slacking the hose, there’s a lot to be kept in order.

Imagine having the weight of a half grown man resting on you in fire gear, and then having to rescue a crew member who is wearing the same weighted gear. It can be one of the most difficult tasks, but it’s a job where everyone has to have each other’s backs.

“We’ve got a lot of responsibility. This man here has got a family and I’ve got to make sure he goes home to them,” one of the firefighters said.

Their main goal is to help people get out alive.

“Get out of the house. That’s the point that I want to drive home,” a crew member said.

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