The moments which were filmed by a passer-by in Shanghai – shows the young woman dangling off the ledge having apparently threatened to jump,
Police had failed to convince the woman – who was depressed after being dumped by her boyfriend – to climb back into a nearby apartment while firefighters on the street below prepared a ladder to try to reach her.
But before the ladder could be used the woman became more agitated and suddenly lowered herself on to the edge of the concrete ledge.
Fireman Xu Weiguo, who was also inside the apartment, immediately climbed out on to the ledge and video shows him grabbing her arm just as she appears to be pushing herself away.
He holds on to her right arm and is seen calling for someone to assist him before a colleague also clambers out on to the ledge to help to haul the woman to safety.
Xu has been widely praised for his actions but insisted he was only doing his job.
He told ThePaper.cn ‘At the time I hadn’t even put on my safety rope or even my helmet when I heard someone outside shout, “She’s going to jump”.
‘I didn’t have time to think – I just ran through the apartment and seeing her hanging on the ledge I jumped through the window and grabbed her arm.
‘As the ledge is narrow and difficult for me to get good leverage I had to flatten myself out and wait for my colleagues to help. Luckily we were able to save the woman.
‘There was no time to think, the entire rescue took 2-3 minutes. Any hesitation by me and she may have fallen off the ledge so I didn’t have any of my safety apparatus in place when I grabbed her.
‘It was quite dangerous. Under normal operational procedures I would have to wear my helmet as well as my safety ropes.’