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Houston worker thanks firemen who saved him from building inferno

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - A worker who escaped a blaze at a Houston construction site by climbing onto a fire truck's ladder seconds before part of the building collapsed thanked his rescuers on Thursday.

As Tuesday's fire consumed the building in the luxury apartment complex, construction supervisor Curtis Reissig swung from the fifth floor to a fourth floor balcony to escape raging flames above and behind him. The action was caught on video that went viral on YouTube.

With no means of escape, he waited for the ladder carrying a fireman to get close enough for him to reach it.

"I was running away from the inferno, trying to save myself," Reissig said on the NBC's "Today" show. "These guys run to and into infernos to try to save other people. I shouldn't even be here. These guys, they deserve all the praise and accolades."

Reissig said dropping to the ledge beneath him was "pretty much a survival instinct. That was the only option."

Firefighter Dwayne Wyble, who drove the hook and ladder truck, said he moved the ladder away quickly once the worker was

with his fellow fireman.

"It surprised every one of us how quickly it came down after they were on there," he said.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Scott Malone)