WATCH: Firefighters save captain who plunged through burning roof

FRESNO, Calif. – A California woman faces up to nine years in prison after pleading guilty to an arson fire that nearly killed one of California’s bravest. Video of the heroic firefighter plunging through a burning roof went viral.

This dramatic cell phone video captured it all. “It’s just kinda a little surreal right now,” Fresno firefighter Cory Kalanick said.

Kalanick doesn’t think of himself as a hero. “I just happened to be in the right spot at the right time,” he said.

But what he and his fellow firefighters did to save the life of Fresno Fire Captain Pete Dern is nothing short of heroic.

The video shows Dern climbing onto the roof of a garage, taking a few steps and then plunging into the smoky structure – a huge plume of smoke and fire shooting up through the hole where he disappeared.

Kalanick couldn’t see what happened but knew something had gone wrong. “The only thing that I could recognize of him was the silhouette of the bottle that we carry on our backs. Everything else was charred and black,” he said.

It took less than a minute and a half for five firefighters to rescue Dern. The fire captain suffered third- and fourth-degree burns over 70 percent of his body.

Unable to attend a ceremony honoring the men who saved his life, Dern’s wife Kelly read a letter on his behalf. “You gave my wife back her husband, my daughter back her dad, my mom back her son and my sisters back their brother,” the letter read.


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