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Episode 55: Interview with close call survivor Jason Corthell

055 - Corthell1In this episode, Cypress Creek Lieutenant Jason Corthell shares his close call survival story where he was operating on the second floor of an exterior stairwell at an apartment building fire.

The stairwell, not involved in fire at all, unexpectedly collapsed, trapping Lieutenant Corthell and District Chief Sanchez under tons of steel an concrete. A mayday was called and a rapid intervention crew was able to remove the debris and successful rescue the two firefighters.

Length: 52 minutes
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A crew of three firefighters, including Cypress Creek Fire Lieutenant Jason Corthell, ascended an exterior stairwell on a fast-moving apartment fire. The fire was inside the apartment and in the attic. The stairs, constructed of steel and concrete, were not involved in fire.

055 - Corthell12The nozzleman was on the third floor landing preparing to attack the fire. Lieutenant Corthell and District Chief Sanchez were on the second floor landing advancing hose to the nozzleman. Suddenly, without warning or provocation, the stairwell collapsed, trapping the two firefighters who were on the landing. The firefighter that was on the third floor landing rode the debris down to the second floor landing and was uninjured.
Lieutenant Corthell’s radio was dislodged in the collapse and he could not call a mayday. The C-Sector commanding officer, noticing the collapse, called the mayday and deployed resources to successfully rescue the trapped firefighters.

055 - Corthell2Listen as Jason describes what was going through his mind as he was trapped and could not move. How he felt a sense of calm and came to peace with himself that he was going to die and how he prayed that God would take him quickly.

Jason Corthell Bio:

Jason Corthell is a 29 year old, father of 3 (ages 7, 5, and 2.) He was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and is a a 4th generation firefighter. His grandpa and great grandpa both served as chief officers.

Jason started in the fire service as a volunteer in December of 2004, shortly after graduating high school. He enrolled in the fire academy at Lone Star College and earned his Structural Firefighting Certificate.

055 - Corthell3Jason also served as a U.S. Marines from 2006-2010 and earned an honorable discharge. Upon completing his military service, Jason was hired by the Pearland Fire Department (Population approximately 140,000). He serves Pearland as a Driver/Operator. He also works part-time for Cypress Creek Volunteer Fire Department as a Duty Crew Lieutenant.

Jason has earned an AAS degree in Fire Science and is pursuing a Bachelors Degree

Links to videos of the fire:



Three injured firefighters recovering after Cypress Apartment Fire

Two alarm fire reported in NW Harris


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Safety Dance (1982)
Men Without Hats
GMC – Virgin Records

Guest Contact Information
Captain Brian Mulligan
Atascocita Volunteer Fire Department

Situational Awareness Matters! website

Firefighter Near Miss Reporting System


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