Apartment Fire Survivor Gets the Chance Of a Lifetime - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Apartment Fire Survivor Gets the Chance Of a Lifetime

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YAKIMA, Wash.-- Today Jon Salsgiver had the opportunity of a lifetime.  He was able to meet the man who saved his life from a massive apartment fire three days ago in Yakima, and all he wanted to say was thank you.

"I would have just stopped and it would have killed me," Salsgiver said.

Early Saturday morning, Salsgiver woke up to flames. A fire had destroyed his apartment complex in a matter of minutes.

"I couldn't breath, I was so scared, I couldn't go away from there," Salsgiver said.

Dozens of firefighters battled the blaze.  Lieutenant Joe Chinco went into the burning building to save Salsgiver and another person.

"I'm just thankful, that's basically all it came down to. I'm so glad they were there," Salsgiver said.

Monday, Salsgiver got the surprise of his life, a chance to meet Lieutenant Chinco and say thank you.

"Thank you very much for everyone of them that was there," Salsgiver said.

With emotion filling the small hospital room, one firefighter said this is why they do their job.

"Save lives, that's our primary goal, and when we get the chance to do that, I mean it's very, very gratifying," said Battalion Chief, Mitch Cole.

But opportunities like this are rare.

"It's very rare as a matter of fact, this is the first one I've met," Cole said.

Officials at the hospital said Salsgiver will most likely stay with his sister until he gets back on his feet.

Salsgiver said he thinks the firefighters who risked their lives for his are the greatest in the world.