Province pays tribute to man, 24, who died trying to rescue suicidal woman
Chen Jianjun, a 24-year-old firefighter from Anhui province, was posthumously granted the Anhui May 4th medal－the highest honor for outstanding young people in the province－on Saturday, a day after he died while trying to rescue a woman who was threatening to jump off a building.
On Friday morning, the public security bureau in Mengcheng county, Bozhou, received a call about a woman who was attempting to commit suicide.
During the rescue effort, Chen and the woman fell from the roof of a four-story shopping mall. Both of them died after emergency treatment failed, according to a statement released by Mengcheng police.
"The woman was emotional and ignored the persuasion of police and firefighters. She suddenly jumped off the building, and a firefighter moved forward to rescue her. They both fell in the process," it said.
A video clip circulated online showed a woman in black walking on the roof while Chen, clad in an orange uniform, was trying to approach her from behind. As the woman suddenly stepped forward, he rushed to grab her, but they plunged off the roof together. Chen held on to the woman as they fell.
On Sunday, an eyewitness told Jimu News－a news portal of Chutian Metropolis Daily, a newspaper based in Hubei province－that an air cushion was laid on the ground, and firefighters kept moving it to match the movements of the woman on the roof, but she kept changing her position too quickly for them to keep up with her.
She was a 55-year-old from Beijing, the Mengcheng funeral parlor said.
Chen was from Huainan, Anhui. A firefighter since 2014, he helped fight more than 1,300 fires and saved about 100 people, China Fire and Rescue said on its WeChat social media account.
A day after the province honored him, the Huainan government gave Chen its Huainan Good Samaritan award.
People hailed the young firefighter as a hero and expressed their respect on social media platforms. On Saturday night, dozens of Mengcheng residents gathered at the site of the tragedy to pay tribute to Chen, lighting candles to honor his sacrifice.
"When I know that a real firefighter sacrificed his life to try to save a woman's life, I feel really sad. Here I want to bow three times to the hero," one resident said.
The video showed Chen was attached to a safety rope while falling, but it is not clear why it failed to hold him and the woman.