Caught on video: Family’s dramatic second-story window escape from apartment fire in Oregon

Published: Dec. 28, 2020 at 7:11 AM CST
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KATU/CNN) - A man and his family lost all their belongings in a fire just a few days before Christmas, but he is voicing relief after saving his whole family in a dramatic rescue.

“I’ve never done anything like that before. It was insane,” Alan Gebhart said.

When the alarm first went off, he saw smoke in the hallway and planned to get out as fast as possible.

The father got ready to leave with his family but realized they were running out of options.

“We ended up going back to the front door. I didn’t get it open a good 13, 14 inches before the whole living room was engulfed in black smoke. It started barreling in like hell hands,” Gebhart said.

That’s when Gebhart resorted to Plan B.

“Got my family to the window, and after we got to the window, I jumped down onto the electrical box. As you can see, it’s kind of torn up now. She lowered my son. His name is Dakota, five months old,” he said.

The father then carried down his 3-year-old daughter, as well as his cat and dog.

A neighbor captured it on camera while watching the family find safety.

“My heart just broke for this family. These people are nothing but kind. He’s a hard worker. This guy has a great job. He takes care of his family. I’ll tell you what, man, he was a hero the other day when he jumped up into that window,” Gene Russell said.

Gebhart said his girlfriend was the last person to get out of the apartment.

“She was hanging out the window and I climbed on top of her to be able to get down. I thought she was going to fall, honestly, I really did. I climbed on top of her, over her as she was hanging down, and I got down to there, jumped down to here, and that’s when the fireman and I worked together, and she dropped in our arms,” he said.

The family lost all their things due to smoke damage. They moved out of the complex and hope for a fresh start in the new year.

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