We can all imagine the instinct, just as we cannot bear what actually happened.
A house in Plano, Texas, caught fire on Thursday. It was 1 in the morning.
You might conceive that neighbors might have noticed and called 911. This they duly did.
However, as CBS Dallas Fort-Worth reports, two men who lived in the house and had managed to escape, suddenly went back inside.
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As Captain Peggy Harrell of the Plano Fire Department told CBS: "The tragedy here is that the three adults living in the home actually made it out of the home, realized that they had no way to call 911 -- no phone with them. So two of the residents -- two males -- actually re-entered the burning home."
Only one made it out alive. He is said to have been in his early 70s.
This isn't the first recent incident of people running back into burning buildings to retrieve a gadget.
Last month, a Kansas man ran back into his burning home because he couldn't bear to be without his Xbox. He was lucky. He got out unscathed.
In the Plano case, the fire department was on the scene within three minutes and quickly extinguished the flames, though the house suffered severe damage.
Firefighters told Fox 4 in Dallas Fort-Worth that 90 percent of people who go back into burning buildings do not make it out alive.