Video catches man quickly climbing down 19-story Philadelphia high-rise during fire

He descended from one of the top floors in less than three minutes. Authorities said he used chain-link fences that enclose balconies.

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By Elisha Fieldstadt

A man was caught on video climbing down the side of a Philadelphia high-rise during a fire Thursday night.

The harrowing video shows the man climb from one of the higher floors of the 19-floor building on Holden Street. He descended about 15 stories, about 200 feet, in a little less than three minutes, according to NBC Philadelphia.

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When he reaches scaffolding on the first floor he hops onto the top of it, climbs down the side and walks away, past emergency responders.

Philadelphia Chief Inspector Scott Small said the man descended the side of the building using chain-link fences that enclose balconies.

All residents of about 100 units were evacuated and waited in air-conditioned buses as police officers and firefighters worked to clear the air inside the building.

The Philadelphia Fire Department determined that the blaze began as a trash fire, and smoke traveled to higher floors through a garbage chute.

Four people who were in the building and three police officers, who were running up and down stairs to rescue people, suffered from smoke and heat exhaustion and were hospitalized, Small said.

All seven are expected to recover, and the hundreds of residents were allowed back into the building later Thursday night.