Lifestyle & Human Interest

14 Residents Trapped in Burning Building Rescued by Teen Driving a Crane


China is a place of great beauty, lengthy history and staggering cities. It has some of the world’s tallest buildings, and its bustling cities are packed with high rises.

While the skyscrapers are an economical approach to using and creating space, when something goes wrong with multi-story apartments, it goes really wrong.

On May 2, in Fushun City in northeastern China, an apartment complex with seven stories caught on fire, according to a video by CCTV Video News Agency.

The fire started on the first floor, effectively trapping everyone on the levels above. RTÉ stated that the fire broke out at around 6:30 a.m.

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If you were stuck in such a predicament, you might be able to make it down safely through your own devices if you’re on the second floor, but any higher than that and you’re really risking your life.

Fourteen people were trapped in the apartments, and they frantically tried to find a way safely down, but to no avail.

Thankfully, a 19-year-old named Lan Junze was nearby, operating a crane. When he saw what had happened and realized people were trapped in the burning building, he rolled over to assist the victims.

He started on the lower floors, closest to the flames, and spent the next half hour working his way toward the upper levels.

Dong Xiuyun was trapped on the third floor along with her son, and was calling for someone to save them. Lan moved the platform over to them, allowing them to step on and huddle inside as he lowered them to safety.

“I tried to go through the door twice, but failed,” a translation of the mother’s account reads. “I got very anxious. Then I thought we could get out from our window.”

“The flame was very, very close to them,” Lan said afterward to CCTV. “My first thought was to get the mother and son down.”

On the floor above perched Mang Shengjun, who was trapped with his wife and his mother. He admitted that if he’d been on his own, he probably would have taken the plunge.

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“I was ready to jump out for survival,” he said. “My mother was over 70. If I didn’t have my mother or my wife with me, if I was alone, I would have jumped out for sure.”

“There was a lot of blast sounds inside the building because there were some explosives,” explained a nameless neighbor, “nobody dared come near.”

Nobody dared except for Lan, who despite his repeated forays into the flames and billowing smoke seems to be unharmed and in good spirits. Lan’s father also arrived on scene to help maneuver the crane, and the two made an impressive, life-saving duo.

“The temperature was very high,” Lan said. “I could feel the burn on my face. I sweat a lot, got very red and very hot.”

In all, Lan ended up rescuing 14 people from the burning apartment building. Sadly, one person lost their life in the fire — but if it hadn’t been for Lan, all 14 could have perished or seriously injured themselves trying to escape.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking