Gao Tiecheng (高铁成), a young sergeant in the Beijing Garrison Command, rushed into a restaurant fire to shut down a leaking gas valve and in doing so helped save dozens of customers, severely burning himself in the process.
The accident took place at nightfall on May 18, 2012, when Gao was having a meal with one of his former classmates in a noodle restaurant in Nangang District of Harbin, before boarding a night train to return to his regiment in Beijing after his holiday leave. Suddenly, out of the blue, someone shouted: "The gas tank is on fire. It's gonna blast!" Over 40 diners in the restaurant began running out, and Gao was only four meters away from the doorway. He dashed into the kitchen trying to turn off the gas valve. But the gas exploded suddenly, with the explosion's strong waves thrusting him out of the kitchen door. Gao's hair was burnt and stuck on his scalp. His limbs suffered grave burns as well. Worried there might still be someone in the kitchen, and that the kitchen's power circuit would probably cause another gas explosion, Gao risked his life returning to the kitchen. He suffered multiple fire burns and was sent to the Fifth Hospital of Harbin for treatment. Later, he was transferred on to Beijing to receive further treatment and his condition has been improving daily.
Born in 1988, to a farmer's family in Hailun of Heilongjiang Province, Gao joined up in 2007. His heroic deed has had great impact on society. He was honored with the title of "Most Courageous Citizen" by the Harbin Municipal Valiancy Foundation.