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How to Jump out of a Burning Building

Coordinated by prolific stuntman Rick LeFevour, the three-story, triple-fireball high fall in episode 6 (aired March 3) of Chicago Fire’s third season marked one of the most spectacular and complex stunts the NBC drama has ever attempted. A breakdown:

Anatomy of a Stunt
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Illustration: Jason Lee
  • 1. Metal boxes on either side of the platform protect both the building walls and stuntman Kenny Richards from two propane mortars set to explode. A third is set up just off to the side of the platform.
  • 2. Richards, portraying a man jumping for his life from a burning apartment, runs up an out-of-view platform (specially built so he can leap over a knee-high ledge) and out a window filled with breakaway glass.
  • 3. Just as Richards crashes through the window, an effects coordinator pushes a button to ignite the mortars.
  • 4. Soaring with his chest and head up, Richards flails for a moment so that viewers know it’s a real human being, as three enormous fireballs explode behind him.
  • 5. Plummeting three stories, Richards executes a half roll with his shoulder, middrop, so he lands on his back, the safest impact position, when he hits an inflated bag on the ground.

The Final Result

Video: Bryan Smith

Read more about LeFevour’s storied stunt career in this Bryan Smith profile.

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