could smell the fire. Beau, my wife, grabbed Alex. We began walking down the hallway and noticed everyone on our floor moving up to the fourth floor. Later I would find out that the smoke was rising fast and this is why people were moving up as opposed to staying on the third floor. When we reached the fourth floor, we moved to the outdoor stairway.
None of the fire alarms worked and the fire escape only went as high as he third floor. It had been welded shut and did not work. I took Alex into my arms, and told Beau I would be right back. I walked down the hall and started making my way down to the second floor through the middle stairwell. As soon as I opened the door to the second floor, I was hit by a wall of thick smoke. I knew there was no way we would make it so I turned around and went back to the stairs outside on the fourth floor. People were crying.
Someone on the ground had found a thick mooring-type rope. It was thrown up to us somehow, and we were asked to tie it to one of the rails and try making our way down. No one wanted to do this. In hindsight, I should have just stayed outside. I truly thought that the building was going to burn down and I wasn't about to be burned alive.
"Give me the rope," I said. "If I get down to the ground I'll figure out a way to get you and Alex down," I told my wife.
I grabbed the rope with one hand, then another, and then moved one hand lower. As soon as I did this, I heard a snap. Down I went. I bounced off of the second floor stairwell, then did a Superman and flew down to the asphalt. Fortunately, my wrist and fingers covered my head when I fell and took the brunt of the fall. I smacked down had, popped up and flipped over to my back, smacked the asphalt again, and that's all I remember.
Then I felt a couple people dragging me into a car. I ended up at Ramkhamhaeng Hospital. The ER doctor grabbed the hand with the fractures and began examining me. The pain was intense. Nurses were running around, people were cutting my clothes off and telling me to stay still.
My wife showed up and I told her I wanted to call my parents. I thought I was going to die and wanted to tell them goodbye. I couldn't think straight and didn't remember their number so Beau had to search in her address book and find some numbers I had given her. Finally, I chose the right number and got through. The next thing I knew, it was four days later.
I was on a morphine drip. I had no idea what had happened. The doctors and nurse were always coming in and out of my room and it felt like they were intentionally trying to keep me awake. After a day or two and after my wife filled in the blanks, I started remembering what happened.
When I fell I was wearing an Omega Speedmaster, the sort of watch worn in a couple of James Bond movies. I remembered being dragged into the car and someone grabbing the watch. Now it was long gone. But I was alive.
It took me a year before I was capable of walking 30 minutes. I've been in pain ever since then and whether true or not, I feel like my body was tweaked crooked by the fall. But I am alive. It could have very well been over.
The owner of the apartments sent someone in to tell me not to worry, everything would be covered. When it came time to pay, they changed their tune and informed me they would only pay 30,000 baht, the amount their insurance company would pay. I told them to go fuck themselves.
If I lived in the US, I would probably be a millionaire. But I don't live in the US, I live in Thailand. I paid the $5000 bill. If I sued, I would have had to pay approximately $800 for every $25,000 I was suing for and the lawyers wanted me to try to get $250,000. I didn't have that sort of money, nor did I have the patience to go to court for years. I decided to get over it and move on with life. We moved out and found a new place.
The apartment fixed the fire escape and by the time I had left, they fixed the fire alarms and filled the fire extinguishers. For me, it was too little, too late. But...I could have easily fell a little more to the left or to the right and ended up paralyzed or six feet under. My wife and our kids could have been left without a husband and father. I was lucky. Someone must like me up there.
Compound fractures in two of my fingers
Four fractured ribs
My skull was fractured in two places
Punctured lung - when I woke up, there was a tube inserted through my left side to drain the blood out of my lung
My entire back was purple, black, and blue from the impact of the fall.
If you have been following my videos and this website, you know I have been asking for donations. The donations are to go towards my trip to Myanmar so I can document the conflict between the Burmese and the Rohingya Muslims with photographs. Although a trip to Yangon for a few days is relatively inexpensive, getting to Sittwe in the Rakhine State and paying for a fixer, a hotel, and expenses for a minimum of two weeks is costly. The cost of a 2-4 week trip is approximately $4500-$6000. There are no ATM's in Burma and transferring money to and from the country is a major pain in the ass. This means I need to bring all the necessary funds in cash which is why the deadline for donations is a week prior to my departure.
I am using $1500-$2000 of my own money for this trip however, I am currently $1600 short with approximately 10 days left to receive donations. Donations have dried up in the past week and I now have doubts whether I can raise the remaining funds needed. If you would like to make a donation, please click here. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.