Kayla Epstein Kayla Epstein Embedded audience editor on the National desk Email Bio Follow July 19 at 8:01 AM HIGH-RISE FIRE: A man is seen scaling down a 19-story apartment building after a fire in West Philadelphia. https://t.co/Rmujuv7vsb pic.twitter.c - EntornoInteligente
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HIGH-RISE FIRE: A man is seen scaling down a 19-story apartment building after a fire in West Philadelphia. https://t.co/Rmujuv7vsb pic.twitter.com/2NsXXYgJVL

— Action News on 6abc (@6abc) July 19, 2019 As a 19-story high-rise in Philadelphia filled with smoke, one person took a drastic escape route: down the side of the building.

Handhold by handhold, inch by inch, the man climbed down the exterior of the building as a helicopter spotlight lit the way.

Philadelphia firefighters responded Thursday night to a blaze at the Holden Tower that had sparked in the lower portion of the building’s trash chute, a local ABC affiliate reported.

Residents spilled out onto the street as the residence was evacuated, with some assisting neighbors with disabilities, ABC reported. Firefighters flooded the trash chute to quench the blaze, and some people were treated for smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion.

But at least one person didn’t take the stairs. Video from an NBC Philadelphia news helicopter shows the individual, who has not been identified but who local media say is a male resident of the building, steadily descending until he reached the safety of the scaffolding that circled the foot of the building.

“He climbed about 200 feet down on what looked like basically chain-link fencing and then the railings of each apartment building,” SkyForce10 pilot Jeremy Haas told NBC Philadelphia. The outlet reports that police officers greeted him at the ground before he walked away unhurt.

Dramatic video of the person’s escape circulated on social media Thursday night as users praised the audacity of the stunt, with a handful of admirers comparing the feat to a famous comic book character.

The building’s elevators were shut down during the fire, Police Chief Inspector Scott Small told the Philadelphia Inquirer . Officers had to scale the stairs to help residents

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Comment s Kayla Epstein Kayla Epstein is the social media editor for National at The Washington Post. She specializes in blending traditional reporting and social media to tell stories and engage readers. She previously worked for the Guardian US, where she worked in support of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team that broke the National Security Agency stories. Follow Sign up for email updates from the “Confronting the Caliphate” series.

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