Watch: Chinese man makes harrowing escape from high-rise fire

Straight out of the book of terrifying scenarios, a man dangled outside what appears to be (at least) the 17th-floor of a residential high rise in Chongqing this afternoon, clutching onto a window’s exterior iron grills in order to escape a fiery blaze that raged just one floor above. As he kicks at the window, trying to get in, embers from the flame fall onto his shoulders and his head, and for a few jaw-dropping seconds in the video above, it looks like his hair catches on fire.

You want a harrowing picture? Here’s a harrowing picture, via Chongqing Daily‘s Weibo:

It’s a little surreal, isn’t it? I’m reminded of animated depictions of fire, fire as yellow-red-orange elemental, pure as evil, fire as symbol of villainy — think The Hunchback of Notre Dame‘s Hellfire song, or the fires that lick at Scar in The Lion King — and fire as all-essential foil to hero, the frail and fallible who dangles just beyond fire’s cindery slaver and demonic cackle, knocking for help, desperate for rescue…


(What, you thought this would end poorly?)

There are no more details about this fire at the moment.