Brazilian man falls to death after saving kids from Sao Paulo fire

This is the moment a hero who rescued four children from a Brazilian tower inferno fell to his death - seconds before firefighters could pull him safety. 

Ricardo Pinheiro rescued four children from the blazing 25-floor former office block in Sao Paulo on Tuesday before rushing back in to save more residents trapped on upper floors.

But the 39-year-old died when the block collapsed in a cloud of red hot debris - when he was just 30 seconds away from being hauled to safety.

Footage on Brazilian Globo TV shows firefighters trying to tug him away from the structure using an improvised harness, but rescuers could only watch helplessly as the building crumpled in a fiery haze before their eyes. 

Dramatic footage captures the moment a man who rescued four children from a Brazilian tower inferno fell to his death - seconds before firefighters could pull him safety. He is pictured (right) on the side of the burning building as the firefighter (left) tried to reach him

Dramatic footage captures the moment a man who rescued four children from a Brazilian tower inferno fell to his death - seconds before firefighters could pull him safety. He is pictured (right) on the side of the burning building as the firefighter (left) tried to reach him

Ricardo Pinheiro rescued four children from the blazing 25-floor former office block in Sao Paulo on Tuesday before rushing back in to save more residents trapped on upper floors. But the 39-year-old died when the block collapsed in a cloud of red hot debris (pictured) - when he was just 30 seconds away from being hauled to safety

Ricardo Pinheiro rescued four children from the blazing 25-floor former office block in Sao Paulo on Tuesday before rushing back in to save more residents trapped on upper floors. But the 39-year-old died when the block collapsed in a cloud of red hot debris (pictured) - when he was just 30 seconds away from being hauled to safety

Fire officer, Sergeant Diego Perreira da Silva Santos, told of his attempts to help the brave man, who had lived on the ninth floor in the Wilton Paes de Almeida tower for four years and knew the complex well

Fire officer, Sergeant Diego Perreira da Silva Santos, told of his attempts to help the brave man, who had lived on the ninth floor in the Wilton Paes de Almeida tower for four years and knew the complex well

Forty nine people were listed as still missing yesterday after the building occupied by squatters in central Sao Paulo was engulfed in fire and collapsed, the Brazilian city's fire department said.

Fire officer, Sergeant Diego Perreira da Silva Santos, told of his attempts to help the brave man, who had lived on the ninth floor in the Wilton Paes de Almeida tower for four years and knew the complex well.

He said to TV Record: 'I could hear him screaming for help. My first visual contact with the victim was when we reached the 15th floor of the neighbouring building.

'He had stabilised himself by holding onto the steel cord of the lightning rod, with his leg well supported.'

According to Sgt. Santos the man had tattoos and had a distinctive look that he could not forget.

Footage on Brazilian Globo TV shows firefighters trying to tug him away from the structure using an improvised harness

Footage on Brazilian Globo TV shows firefighters trying to tug him away from the structure using an improvised harness

Rescuers could only watch helplessly as the building crumpled in a fiery haze before their eyes

Rescuers could only watch helplessly as the building crumpled in a fiery haze before their eyes

Forty nine people were listed as still missing yesterday after the building occupied by squatters in central Sao Paulo was engulfed in fire and collapsed, the Brazilian city's fire department said

Forty nine people were listed as still missing yesterday after the building occupied by squatters in central Sao Paulo was engulfed in fire and collapsed, the Brazilian city's fire department said

'It was very dark, but it's almost impossible for me to forget what he looked like,' the 49-year-old officer said.

'We went up a few more floors onto the roof and I used a small axe to break the wall separating us. I anchored the metal base then tried to pass a safety harness three times before he caught it.

'I told him to put the cord around his body and to pass it underneath his arms twice. He did this. Then I instructed him to support himself by putting his leg through another harness attached to the rope.

'I assured him that we were going to get him out. I told him to stay calm and he stopped screaming.

'It was just as we finished

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