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Heroic Fire Rescue

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"...after having heard the explosion from their practice facility they ran into the fire to help get people out... ran into the fire."
Bartlet, The West Wing, "20 Hours in America, Part II"

A common way for a work to show a character is heroic is by having them putting themselves in harm's way to rescue others, and the fire rescue is a classic example (which is another reason why Firemen Are Hot). The fire might be a burning building, or car, or any other fire in general, but generally it will threaten the life of the character who enters it. Expect it to happen regularly in a work focused on firefighters.

A subversion sometimes occurs where a character will attempt to invoke this trope by setting the fire themselves, and then enter into it to rescue someone, hoping to come off as a hero. Usually this will backfire spectacularly. The character in this case is engaging in Engineered Heroics, and likely to be an actual villain.

Can be used as an Establishing Character Moment, Rescue Introduction or to kickstart a Rescue Romance. If the character is already shown as being heroic, it can be used to underline their Chronic Hero Syndrome.

Please Don't Try This at Home, as you're more likely to end up needing to be rescued yourself... if you even survive.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Ask Dr. Rin!, when Tokiwa was still in his Yandere phase, one of his attempts to woo Meirin involved using his shikigami to set her school on fire while she was trapped in one of the rooms. His plan was to invoke this trope, even though he set the building on fire in the first place. Naturally, Asuka managed to show up and rescue her first.
  • Subverted in Digimon Ghost Game. Terrifying Rescuers DarkLizardmon & Saberdramon attempt one of these using DarkLizardmon's special attack Dark Flare, which creates a protective zone that incinerates anything trying to leave. The man they attempted to rescue is too scared to listen to their instructions and dashes outside, resulting in him slowly being burned to death by Dark Flare in front of his family and neighbors.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS opens with the post-Time Skip Aces assisting the firefighters in containing a large airport fire, though only Nanoha and Fate actually go in to evacuate the victims, while Hayate coordinates the efforts from the outside. Nanoha's rescue of Subaru, the seasons' central new character, becomes the turning point in the latter's life, motivating her to pursue a mage's career to be more like her new idol. Simultaneously subverted in the case of Subaru's sister Ginga, who tries to rescue her on her own but almost dies and instead has to be rescued by Fate. The method which Nanoha uses to rescue Subaru also ends up being a Chekhov's Skill for the final battle (on top of Subaru being mostly unaffected by the inferno being the first bit of foreshadowing towards her cyborg nature).
  • In Pandemonium Wizard Village, Brow accidentally causes a massive fire by improperly setting off the firework he stole from Zipher, leaving him in the middle of it. Zipher rushes in to rescue him. While this is happening, we are shown a flashback of him trying to do the same to his lover, Anna, when Arkhamheim is being razed by the Sky Golems. He was unsuccessful in saving her, but he does manage to save Brow, though he loses his left eye in the process.
  • Happens every so often in Pokémon: The Series. One notable example is Ash rushing into the burning Celadon Gym to save Erika's Gloom, thus earning himself the Rainbow Badge. Also seen with Water-type turtle Pokémon (Squirtle, Wartortle, and Blastoise) who are specially trained for this.
  • Promare:
    • This is the modus operandi for Burning Rescue, the organization that protagonist Galo is a member of. They are basically a squadron of hi-tech firefighters who are meant as a counter against the Burnish and the supernatural fires they are prone to causing, in particular the attacks of Mad Burnish. The Action Prologue has them responding to one of these attacks, in the process capturing Mad Burnish's leader Lio Fotia and his two wingmen and putting out the fires they caused.
    • Subverted with Kray Foresight. The reason Galo ended up under Kray's care was that Kray entered a burning building on his own to save the young Galo, which led Galo to look up to Kray as his savior and hero. However, during the climax Kray, who had already become a Broken Pedestal to Galo for his plan to commit genocide on the Burnish by using them to power his Colony Ship and giving him one hell of a Hidden Disdain Reveal, is revealed to be a Burnish himself and that he caused the fire that he rescued Galo from. It turns out this is the very reason why Kray despised Galo in the first place as he wanted to leave him to die in the fire and only rescued him to make himself look good.
  • Twice over in Rainbow when the detention center catches fire while most of the protagonists are locked in their cell. First, Anchan rushes in, determined to force the door, and winds up needing to be rescued himself. Then Scam rushes in, having found the key, and saves the others, who then save Anchan.
  • In the Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei chapter about misplaced priorities, student Mansebashi-kun rushes into the burning house where his little sister is screaming for help... to rescue his anime merchandise. His mother slaps him after a firefighter rescues the girl.
  • This is an extremely regular occurrence in Tomica Hyper Rescue Drive Head Kidou Kyuukyuu Keisatsu. Even the show itself mentions that fires are the most likely disaster. Typically, Taiga and his Drive Head Backdraft, which specializes in firefighting, will have a big part in stopping major fires.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Yugi is trapped in a warehouse and forced to duel a brainwashed Bandit Keith over who gets the Millenium Puzzle. After Bakura sets Keith free, he snaps out of his brainwashing, but only temporarily as Marik makes him smash the Puzzle to pieces, much to Yugi's terror. Bakura then knocks Keith out and "helps" Yugi put the Puzzle back together. Keith then wakes up and snaps, not only out of his brainwashing completely, but accidentally setting the warehouse on fire, which leads to Jonouchi / Joey and Honda / Tristan having to save Yugi despite his objections of never letting go of the Puzzle.
    • The Yu-Gi-Oh! manga has a similar but very different scenario in the Dungeon Dice Monsters arc. This time the fire was caused by Mr. Otogi knocking over a candle when trying to solve the Millennium Puzzle and going insane. While Yugi tries to solve puzzle while in the fire, all Yugi's friends evacuate the building except for Jonouchi, who waits inside for Yugi to solve the Puzzle. When Yugi passes out after solving it, Jonouchi carries Yugi out of the still burning building.

  • Raphael Rooms: Predictably, "The Fire in the Borgo" captures a terrific fire breaking out in the city of Borgo. Several citizens valiantly come to the aid of the victims. On the one hand, the women carry vessels of water on their heads while battling the strong winds produced by the flames. On the other hand, the men (some of them inexplicably naked) guide and carry the victims back to safety. Additionally, the Pope is sort of implied to helping out by praying to the Christian God to save them all.

    Asian Animation 
  • In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Joys of Seasons episode 6, Weslie, Paddi, and Sparky all become firemen, and the climax of the episode has them take on the job of extinguishing a big fire in Wolf Castle that was deliberately started by Wolffy in an attempt to capture them. Weslie is just about to rescue Wolffy and Wolnie when Paddi and Sparky's fire extinguishers run empty, forcing them to go refill them. Weslie tells Wolffy he'll be back to rescue him and Wolnie soon... except the episode ends without him coming back, thus subverting the trope.

    Comic Books 
  • Captain Atom had a superb Post-Crisis story by Greg Weisman where the hero, having just resigned his commission, has to rescue some vagrants in a building fire. In doing so, Captain Atom, who had to pose as a Super Hero to be a Mole in the Justice League, realizes that he likes being a superhero for real.
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe: In "Vacation Time", a Donald Duck comic by Carl Barks, Donald manages to save himself and his nephews from a forest fire started by a careless camper. Worth noting is that up until this point, Donald has mostly been playing the fool, trying (and failing) to get a perfect photograph of a majestic deer. But once the fire starts, he takes charge. And he tells the kids to soak their shirts in water and put their shirts over their faces after which he buries them, each with a shovel over their face so they can breath, and afterwards burying himself. They survive, of course, but the forest is left in tragic ruins.
  • In The Transformers (Marvel) UK's Timeline, part-time firetruck Inferno leaps to assist human firefighters struggling to put out a blaze caused by a bomb. While the humans are able to get most of the victims free, a boy is stranded because the fire near him is too intense for the firefighters to approach, Inferno, being Cybertronian and covered with armored metal skin functionally immune to any heat below 8000 degrees Celsius, dives into the burning building and emerges carrying the boy Out of the Inferno.

    Comic Strips 
  • Occured once in Luann where Brad, while working for the fire department, rushed in to save a character. He was complimented for being successful, but also reprimanded and suspended for putting himself at risk to do needless heroics.
  • In the Nintendo Power comic for The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1992), this is the action that endears Link to at least a few people in Kakariko who help him on his quest.

    Fan Works 
  • Shows up in many Death Note fanfics centered around Matt and Mello, especially of the Yaoi Genre. Often, Matt goes in to rescue Mello from the rubble after he blew up a building to get away from the Japanese police (usually after having never having spoken to Mello since he left Wammy's house 5 years prior). Usually (though not always), Matt comes out of this completely unscathed, despite Mello's (canon) third-degree burn. And usually Matt is the one to take care of him.
  • Lighting Candles: Tadashi doing this is what caused the Man in the Moon to choose to resurrect him as a Guardian.
  • In the Marvel Cinematic Universe fic A Little Red and Blue, Sharon is inadvertently sent to the year 1944 by Wanda and is later found by the past Steve and Bucky. At one point, Sharon and Steve save people from a burning building and Sharon has to jump out of a window in order to escape, getting some injuries that require stitches. This doesn't stop her from assisting Bucky's aunt Agatha with various chores in her home.
  • In the ninth chapter of the Rango fanfic Old West, the Convenient Store of Mud (the new name of Dirt) is set ablaze and the store owner's wife and baby are trapped upstairs. Unable to stand aside and listen to a child burning to death, Grace Glossy rushes inside and gets the woman and her baby out by lowering them from the window with her long serpentine body, allowing the townsfolk to catch them. This brave and selfless action causes the majority of the town to pipe down their prejudices, and Rattlesnake Jake's esteem toward Grace improves.
  • In the eleventh chapter of the Cinderella fanfic Sunset in a Gilded Frame, Etienne Gerard rescues Cinderella from a burning stable.

    Film — Animation 
  • Disney manages to pull a Surprisingly Realistic Outcome with this trope in Big Hero 6. Tadashi runs into a burning building after his teacher and does not make it out again. To top it off, said teacher was never in any real danger. He faked his death by using Hiro's nanobots to shield himself.
  • The title character of Bolt, a dog who thought he was a superhero, shows his true heroism by running into a burning soundstage to rescue his girl Penny.
  • In An Extremely Goofy Movie, Max and Goofy save Tank from the burning "X" logo after Bradley betrayed him. Tank is greatful for this and even returns the favor by letting Max win the race and giving Brad his Just Desserts.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Phoebus performs one of these after Frollo has an innocent family trapped in their house and then sets the place on fire, successfully saving them all.
  • In The Incredibles, Bob and Lucius (AKA Mr. Incredible and Frozone) rescue some people from a burning building. This is while the Superhero Registration Act is in effect, and they are almost caught when they accidentally break into the jewelry store next door.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Naturally, films about firefighters, such as Ladder 49 and Backdraft. In fact this trope dates all the way back to 1902 and one of the first narrative films ever made, the six-minute short Life of an American Fireman.
  • Always shows the flying kind, who are in every bit as much danger as their terrestrial counterparts, if not more so. Pete in particular is known to take extreme risks to fight forest fires, which eventually costs him his life. By the end, Ted is developing a similar mentality.
  • Backdraft: As most of the man characters are firefighters by profession this happens multiple times in the film.
  • Occurs in Crash when Officer John Ryan, so far shown only as a racist, performs a rescue of a black character from a burning car and hence gets Character Development into a Noble Bigot with a Badge.
  • Firestorm (1998) opens with Jesse and his mentor Wynt rescuing trapped civilians in a forest fire when a woman begs them to rescue her daughter from a burning cabin. They locate the girl, but Wynt is injured by a travel trailer sent flying by an explosion. Jesse manages to free Wynt and rescue both him and the girl from a flashover.
  • The Greatest Showman: Phillip Carlyle runs into the burning theatre to save Anne, believing she is inside. However, she has in fact escaped, and Barnum is forced to go into the building to save Phillip. The roof collapses, seemingly killing them both, but they survive, Phillip with serious burns.
  • Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco. Shadow and Sassy rescue a little boy and his kitten from a burning house.
  • In Mighty Joe Young, a rescue of this nature occurs toward the end of the film. Gregg, Jill and Joe witness a tall orphanage engulfed in flames. Jill and Gregg help the caretakers save the children. They escort most of the children, but the flames spread quickly, and a last group, along with Jill and Gregg, are trapped on the top story. At Jill's urging, Joe braves the raging fire by climbing an adjacent tall tree, carrying Jill to safety, while Gregg lowers each child by rope to the ground. One child is left behind, so Joe climbs up again, grabbing the frightened and crying little girl, then he and Gregg climb down.
  • In Mr. Deeds, Deeds, with no safety gear whatsoever and the fire department already on scene, shimmies up a gutter and rescues a woman and her multitude of cats from an apartment fire. Everyone there hails him as a hero, but the evil news anchor cherry-picks the footage to make it look like he killed the cats and raped the woman instead.
  • In Pee-wee's Big Adventure, Peewee runs into a burning pet shop to rescue all the pets... including the snakes, although he waited until the last minute.
  • Done by the title character in The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking. Pippi rescues the children's home from a fire accidentally started by the janitor and is lauded by the townsfolk as a heroine.
  • Sam Raimi's Spider-Man Trilogy uses this twice.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, Mikey saves Yoshi from a burning building just before reuniting with his brothers. It's this act that convinces the village to start trusting the turtles.
  • In the film Turk182 an off-duty fireman goes into a burning building and rescues a little girl; he gets injured, but since he had alcohol in his system the city refuses to pay for his medical expenses. His little brother goes on a Roaring Rampage of...uncivil disobedience.
  • Vivah: In the climax, Poonam demonstrates her loving nature by risking her life to save Rajni after the latter is trapped in their burning house. She is badly scarred for her efforts, but is met with a grateful family and a loving fiance who still wants to marry her.
  • Wild Thing: When Safe House, where Jane works, is burned down, Wild Thing climbs in through one of the windows to rescue a teenage prostitute trapped inside. He lowers her down on a rope and escapes through another window.

  • How Jonatan dies in the beginning of The Brothers Lionheart.
  • Circle of Magic: Daja and Frostpine do this in Cold Fire. Of course they are Smith Mages so it's slightly less dangerous for them to do it as they have magical resistance to fire.
    • Coldfire also has another example but of the subversion. Ben Ladradun is the heroic firefighter, rescuing people from burning buildings, but also the serial arsonist setting the fires in the first place.
    • And Daja previously rescued an entire caravan from a burning forest in Daja's Book.
  • In the children's book Clarence Goes to Town Clarence (a non-anthropomorphic dog) is in a quiz-and-stunt show with a human, and one of the stunts is an obstacle course. Clarence goes off course because he spots a small fire backstage. After putting the fire out, they give him a special prize for doing that.
  • In the first book of Timothy Zahn's The Cobra Trilogy, the war has ended and a Super Soldier has come home to great distrust from his community. At one point he is almost hit by a car, and his computerized reflexes save him and then cause the car's tires to blow out, making it crash and killing the people inside despite his best efforts. Later on the mayor, who's on his side, gets him to a burning building after the firefighters have an equipment shortage, and he saves several people to mass cheers, daring then to hope that public opinion has turned around. It didn't, unfortunately; after the excitement died down he was regarded with yet more fear.
  • Early in the novel Corinne, a fire breaks out in Ancona, and when Oswald finds out that the Jews have been locked into the ghetto for the night (as was common practice in much of Europe at the time), and are to be left to their fate, he himself the rushes to the ghetto, towards the fire, and breaks the gate open. He then uses a ladder to climb into the burning asylum and rescues the five inmates one by one.
  • In The Decorator, Erast Fandorin's current flame Angelina recounts an occasion from their travels when Fandorin rushed into a burning building to rescue some kids and suffered hideous burns on his face, saying that despite the scars, he was the most handsome man in the world to her at that moment.
  • Discworld:
    • Reaper Man: Bill Door saves a little girl from a fire. The Fridge Logic behind the trope is demonstrated nicely when Miss Flitworth is prepared to kick him out after he first suggests that it's not worth the effort.
    • Going Postal: Played more-or-less straight, although Moist is very Genre Savvy about it (yet he actually saves several lives).
      "A man who rushes into a burning building to rescue a stupid cat and comes out carrying that cat is seen as a hero, even if he is rather a dumb one. If he comes out sans cat he's a twit."
    • Parodied in Jingo. Vimes does this and is accused of trespassing (in the embassy which was on fire) and kidnap (of the woman he rescued).
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Harry does this in Changes and gets his back broken because of an exploding gas grill. He does have a severe case of Chronic Hero Syndrome after all.
    • Sanya, Knight of the Cross shows up soon after and helps Harry further at the same fire.
  • Finders Keepers: Hodges and Jerome have to rescue Pete and Fina from the burning Rec building in the climax.
  • When the demon Crowley in Good Omens discovers the bookshop of his best friend the angel Aziraphale in flames, he immediately runs in looking for him. Unfortunately the Angel has already being discorporated before the fire even started. He does manages to rescue The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, which the angel probably appreciated just as much.
  • A key plot point in I Am David. When David sees that a shed containing a young girl Maria has caught fire, he takes the opportunity to ingratiate himself with God, and to rescue her. He gets burned himself in the process, but he succeeds. The girl's family are immensely grateful to him, and he stays with them for a few days.
  • Attempted by Cara's mother Julia in Julia's Kitchen. She and her husband escape from a House Fire, then notice that their younger daughter Janie isn't with them. Julia runs back in, but she and Janie both die of smoke inhalation.
  • In The Shapla Case from the Kadingir series, Zuk gets trapped inside a blazing inferno and is too injured to get out of the building. Ullah, Ziu and king Vizvi immediately fly to the rescue, but they aren't really very helpful, because once inside they start arguing who should be the one to do the actual rescuing. It takes barely-conscious Zuk sending a telepathic scolding for them to snap out of it.
  • Attempted by Pak in Miracle Creek. He helps Teresa, Rosa, TJ, and Matt out of the burning tank, then runs in for Henry and then Kitt, even while covered in burns and coughing on smoke. Both die anyway, and Pak ends up paralyzed.
  • No Quarter: While the danger involves earth and water rather than fire, Vree free-climbs a demonstrably unstable seaside cliff to extract a woman from the wreckage of what was a house on the edge and was at that point not only twenty feet or so down but about to plummet another fifty into the pounding surf, mainly because someone saw her moving minutes ago and she has never knowingly left anyone to die.
    *Are you sure you can do this?*
    * I could do this in the dark under the noses of guards who would desperately like to kill me.*
    * Yeah, but can you do it in the daylight under the noses of people who desperately want you to succeed?*
    * First time for everything.*
  • In S.E. Hilton's The Outsiders and its film adaptation, greaser delinquents Ponyboy, Dallas, and Johnny save several children from a burning church, giving them a story on the front page as heroes. Sadly, Johnny eventually dies due to injuries sustained from the event.
  • Pilgrennon's Children: While the Emerald Forge is burning down, Gamma climbs a chimney to escape the flames. Dana flies to where she is on the wyvern's back and pulls her onto the wyvern. Too weighed down to fly, the wyvern enters a controlled descent and deposits them mostly unharmed on the ground.
  • Save the Enemy: When Zoey finds the house where her dad is being held, it's on fire. She breaks in by driving a car through the locked door, then finds him tied up on the second floor. By the time she gets him free, there's fire in the hallway, so they both jump out the window, using the safe landing technique he taught her years ago.
  • Temeraire: Overlapping with What You Are in the Dark when Laurence is held captive by Napoleon — the palace is set ablaze and he has a chance to escape unnoticed, but he runs into the building to save Napoleon's child. Napoleon is a Friendly Enemy to Laurence for quite a few reasons.
  • In Warrior Cats book Rising Storm, Fireheart and Yellowfang return to the burning ThunderClan camp to rescue Halftail, Patchpelt, and Bramblekit. It doesn't work out too well for Yellowfang.
  • Drew has quite a few of these moments in Wars of the Realm, but the instance most applicable to this trope is his first lifesaving scene in the series, when he averts a school shooting at Drayle University.
  • Discussed in The Wheel of Time, Siuan tells Mat that he reminds her of her uncle from when she was a fishermen's daughter. He was a heavy drinker, chased after woman all the time, loved to gamble and was able to charm his way out of any kind of trouble (which he frequently got in). He died rescuing children from a burning building; in fact, he died because he kept going back to look for more people and the roof collapsed on him. Siuan implies that Mat would do the same thing and he scoffs. She turns out to be right, while not quite the same; he goes back to rescue Olver (his ward) in the middle of a Seanchan Invasion, braving explosions and magical attacks
  • When The Robbers Came To Cardamom Town: The climax of the book is the fire in old Tobias’ tower. The three robbers save his pets and help put out the fire. The town hails them as heroes, and constable Bastian declares that they’re free.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrow: In "Streets of Fire", Sara Lance runs into a burning building to rescue a child while in her Canary costume, which is witnessed by a cop. When the cop tells the story to her colleagues later, she calls her a hero for the act of bravery. This finally makes Sara realize that all the people telling her she's more than just the bad person she believes herself to be might be right.
  • In season 3 of Ashes to Ashes (2008), Ray runs into a burning building when he hears a woman in there. This trope is subverted, because a fireman ends up saving both Ray and the woman from the fire.
  • The A-Team, "Fire". Naturally, the A-Team gets to pull off one of these while helping Sanders' fire department. B.A. in particular comes out a hero, rescuing a boy who was trapped on an upper floor.
  • In one Blue Bloods episode, Jamie Reagan spots a building in flames and rushes in to rescue a baby. This is treated by the press accordingly as an act of heroism and they begin demanding the identity of the hero cop. Unfortunately, to put Jamie in front of the camera would mean blowing an undercover operation that he's currently involved in. So Frank has it arranged that Sergeant Renzulli take public credit for the rescue, while giving Jamie his commendation medal in private.
  • Body of Proof kicks off one episode by having Peter run into a burning house to rescue one of the inhabitants, underlining his bravery credentials.
  • Castle: After a bomb goes off in Beckett's apartment, Castle rushes into the burning apartment to rescue her. Played down somewhat because the apartment fires are quite small and it is then Played for Laughs when it turns out that Beckett is naked in her bathtub and she demands he hand her his jacket before they leave. Then Beckett lampshades this trope by joking that Castle must be extremely keen to tell her about his heroism with regards to breaking down the door and rushing into the apartment.
  • In the Charmed episode "Siren Song", Cole does this to try to prove to Phoebe that he's reformed.
  • Chuck: Chuck and Casey in "Chuck Versus The Frosted Tips", who run into a helicopter and its surrounds on fire to rescue Morgan and Gertrude Verbinski respectively.
  • Downplayed on Downton Abbey when Thomas pulls Edith from the fire in her room — it's only a single room on fire rather than the whole building, but still a rather intimidating blaze. Given Thomas's general personality, it's more one of his Pet the Dog moments than a straight display of heroic nature.
  • Emergency!: Employed frequently, naturally enough for a show about firefighters.
  • During the second season of ER, Shep and Raoul do this instead of waiting for backup. Raoul dies from third-degree burns he suffered and Shep becomes so depressed and volatile that Carol Hathaway breaks up with him.
  • Forever: In the 1865 flashbacks of "Social Engineering" Henry has recently saved a child from a burning building, and his picture (a drawing) was prominently featured in a newspaper article about the event. Henry has deep misgivings about the publicity, which prove justified when his wife, Nora, estranged for fifty years because she hadn't believed he was immortal, sees the article and tracks him down.
  • Forever Knight: When Janette returns from her bus trip, she has a stepson. She tells Nick the boy's father 'smashed in my door with an axe and swept me off my feet.' She neglects to mention that her apartment was on fire at the time and the man was a firefighter.
  • In the backstory of Ghost Whisperer, this how Jim and Melinda met. He rescued her from a burning apartment complex.
  • Claire goes into a burning building to rescue a man in season one of Heroes. Justified as Claire has a Healing Factor, and pretty well knows she'll come out fine, although it was also something of a test on her part to understand her powers better.
  • London's Burning: Employed frequently, naturally enough for a show about firefighters. They aren't always successful.
  • Luke Cage (2016): Invoked in season 2, where, after Bushmaster bankrupts Mariah Dillardnote , he barges into her brownstone as she and her daughter Tilda are preparing to flee town, ties her up in a chair, and has his men set the house on fire. His intention is for Mariah to die in the same way that Mama Mabel killed his mother, so he leaves Tilda unrestrained and dares her to save her mother. Tilda's attempts to undo the ropes tying down Mariah are in vain. Fortunately, Luke rushes to the scene upon being tipped off by D.W. Griffith, and is able to carry Mariah out of the house just before emergency workers arrive.
  • Parodied in Parks and Recreation where the Pawneeans celebrate a man who saved a pumpernickel recipe from a fire at the local bread factory. Around thirty people died in the fire. He wasn't a miracle worker.
  • Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue:
    • The first episode has the Red Ranger Carter Grayson, who was a firefighter by trade before joining Lightspeed Rescue, saving a little girl from a burning building that had been set ablaze by one of the demons. It his occupation as a firefighter that made him eligible to be a Ranger in the first place.
    • The episode "A Face from the Past", Carter and Captain Mitchell perform one of these while helping the local fire department. It is thus that Carter learns Captain Mitchell was the firefighter who saved Carter when he was a child, which inspired Carter to become a firefighter himself.
    • The finale ends with all six Rangers running off to save people from fire emergency without needing their morphers.
  • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "The Forsaken", Dr. Bashir is assigned to escort an "Ass" in Ambassador delegation around the station, a situation he finds intolerable—until the four of them are trapped in a burning corridor. Bashir's quick thinking saves their lives, thus earning their respect.
  • The X-Files episode "Fire":
    • Cecil L'ively the Pyromaniac successfully attempts to invoke this trope by setting the fire at the hotel so that he can save the boys he was watching from their room.
    • Played straight with Agent Mulder who rescues the children from the burning house at the final showdown, having to face his paralyzing fear of fire.

  • Sammy J claims this in "Back When I Was Your Age":
    And I once saved a group of puppies from a burning orphanage,
    Then I went back inside and saved the orphans too

    Music Videos 
  • The "My Hero" video by the Foo Fighters, showing a faceless man running into a house full of fire to save a child and several precious objects.


  • Verse 23 from the Epistle of Jude in The Bible tells believers to "save [others] with fear while pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment stained by the flesh," likening rescuing people from sin to rescuing people from a burning building.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • In Beyond: Two Souls, some punks set fire to an abandoned building where Jodie and her homeless friends are resting, so Jodie and her poltergeist friend Aiden have to mount a heroic rescue. Anyone you fail to get to before they suffocate is Killed Off for Real.
  • Burning Rangers is all about this trope; you play as members of a futuristic firefighting squad who put out raging fires within facilities and save civilians trapped inside.
  • In Call of Duty: Black Ops III, the Player rushes into a burning CIA safehouse to save Kane, his/her handler. Before they escape, though, the Player kills Kane's captor by forcing her head into the flames. Ouch.
  • It's optional, but if you want to get Kid back in your party towards the end of Chrono Cross you have to get her to wake up from a nightmare-racked coma by traveling through time and rescuing her fellow orphans from their burning home. Said orphanage is Lucca's house from Chrono Trigger, and you arrive immediately after she gets killed by the Big Bad.
  • Fahrenheit has Lukas' flashback of a fire at a military warehouse, near which he grew up. When it caught fire, several neighborhood boys snuck inside to play hide-and-seek, so Lukas had to go in, too, to get them out before the whole thing exploded. Depending on how many victims you rescue in the flashback, Lukas' Sanity Meter goes down by different amounts (or even goes up, if he saved everyone) in the present.
  • Final Fantasy VI sees the party have to enter a burning building to rescue Relm during their stay in Thamasa. The fire's sentient, and the heart of the blaze is a boss fight.
  • Firefighter FD 18 for the PlayStation 2 is made of this trope, where you play as a badass firefighter and spends the whole game navigating burning environments to save trapped civilians. It was allegedly a licensed Backdraft game, but becomes a Divorced Installment as it's own title somewhere during production.
  • In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, there's a mission where CJ has to enter a burning house to rescue a girl. From a fire he caused in the first place. Man's a hero, no doubt.
  • Mass Effect 2: In Zaeed's loyalty mission, Shepard has to choose between running into a burning refinery in order to turn on the fire suppression systems and rescue the workers, or pursue the man Zaeed has wanted revenge on for twenty years and ignore the workers.
  • In Return to Krondor, James has to save the children in a burning orphanage (set aflame as a distraction by the villain)... but the magician Jazhara will gladly throw a fire-resistance spell on him so he can move more safely through the orphanage and easily make up the time spent on the spell to save the kids.
  • In Silent Hill: Origins Protagonist Travis Grady does this for Alessa Gillespe who ends up in a hospital after he loses consciousness.
  • In World of Warcraft, the "Burning of Teldrassil" event ending for Alliance players has them going into the burning city of Darnassus, trying to save as many civilians as they can; with them almost dying to the smoke and flames trying to save just a few dozen out of the 900+ people trapped there.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Phase pulls this in his origin novel "Ayla and the Late Trevor James Goodkind" in the Whateley Universe. He rushes to a burning building and saves his sister from a supervillainess who is throwing fireballs. It is only after getting hit with a fireball himself that he finds out he is fireproof (some of the time).

    Western Animation 
  • Classic Disney Shorts:
    • "Society Dog Show", Mickey enters Pluto on a dog show, but is rejected. Then a fire breaks out and Pluto rushes in to save the Pekinese he fell in love with.
    • "Elmer Elephant": an elephant is laughed out of a birthday party at his girlfriend's (a tiger) house, but eventually saves her and her friends when said tiger's house catches fire with the help of an old giraffe and several pelicans.
    • "Mickey's Fire Brigade": Firemen Mickey, Donald and Goofy try to rescue Clarabelle from a burning boarding house. She doesn't take too kindly to being rescued, as she was in the bathtub at the time.
    • The Mickey Mouse (2013) cartoon "Fire Escape": Mickey sees smoke coming from Minnie's apartment and rushes to save her, but first has to rescue the other tenants in her building. He finally makes it to Minnie's, only to find that the smoke is from Minnie's cooking.
  • Futurama: In "300 Big Boys", Fry (whose consumption of 100 cups of coffee has momentarily given him superpowers) rescues the patrons of a burning art exhibit (one at a time, using super-speed).
  • In the Il Était Une Fois... l'homme episode set in Ancient Rome, Pierre and Jumbo, two Gaulish slaves, see a wealthy man's house on fire. They rush into the house to save the lives of the wealthy man's wife and children, to say nothing of the matron's maidservant Pierrette, who falls in love with Pierre upon regaining her consciousness. As a reward for saving his family, the wealthy man takes Pierre and Jumbo in as his own servants.
  • Justice League: An early episode shows Batman saving a scared little girl from a burning building, and then the two of them being saved by Hawkgirl (Batman's good, but he can't fly).
  • Kaeloo: In Episode 93, Mr. Cat sets a building on fire with Quack Quack trapped inside. Stumpy decides to go rescue him, but only after he gets inside the building and reaches Quack Quack does he realize that they have no way to get out of the building, as the flames have spread too far. They finally escape since Stumpy realizes that he can make a birthday wish, and he wishes them to safety. Unfortunately, he gets too carried away with his wish making and turns himself and his friends into pole dancers wearing weird costumes.
  • In the Mixels episode "Nixel, Nixel, Go Away", the MCFD, the actual fire department of Mixopolis, fail to be this because they refuse to team up with each other thanks to the negative vibes that the Nixels have been spreading throughout Mixopolis. As such, they argue on working together to save a Mixie Cat from a burning apartment building. However, this leaves the Nindjas free to swoop in and save the day, saving the Mixie Cat while the building crumbles to ashes.
  • The Simpsons:
  • Superman: The Animated Series:
    • In the pilot episode, "The Last Son Of Krypton", the teenaged Clark Kent's first rescue as his powers are emerging is saving a family trapped in a burning car.
    • In "Prototype", Superman and Metropolis Police's Sgt. Mills, who's using an experimental power suit, save people at a burning apartment building.
  • Winx Club: Season 3, Episode 10 has Musa risk everything to rescue Princess Galatea from the Trix's perishing fire in the Alfea library, and refuses to leave her behind, which in turn earns her Enchantix.

    Real Life 
  • While he was serving as mayor of Newark, NJ, current US senator and part time Batman Cory Booker came home to find an elderly neighbor's home to be on fire. Despite his personal security staff attempting to restrain him he rushed into the burning building and pulled the woman out, suffering second degree burns and smoke inhalation in the process.
  • Professional wrestler Bam Bam Bigelow rescued three young children from a burning house near his Florida home in 2000, receiving 2nd degree burns to 40% of his body in the process. In a grim irony, Bigelow was well known for the flames tattooed on his shaven head and his flame-patterned ring gear during his wrestling career.
  • In real life, there's a good chance that the rescue attempt will not turn out well for the rescuer. Not only do structural fires produce enough noxious smoke to quickly incapacitate a person who inhales just a small amount, but the heat itself can cause internal burns to the upper airway and even to the lungs. There's a reason that firefighters wear all of that safety equipment.


Video Example(s):


Dusty's heroic rescue

Dusty manages to use all his strength and effort to save Harvey and Winnie from the burning and collapsing bridge at Augerin Canyon, but sadly also had to pay the ultimate sacrifice for his courage.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / HeroicFireRescue

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