The Pokémon Go phenomenon has been catching a lot of flack for placing people in potentially dangerous situations. Headlines of Pokémon Go players falling off of cliffs, wandering into traffic, or being generally distracted into self injury are everywhere. That is why the Niantic, Inc. craze should be grateful to award the Achievement Medal to Pokémon Trainer and Austinite Darren Lutz for catching a Magikarp while simultaneously saving eight people from a burning building!
Pokémon Go player Darren Lutz was “just hatching some eggs” when he noticed his ‘Reward’: smoke billowing out of a balcony at Ballpark East Apartments off of Riverside. Lutz doesn’t live at Ballpark East, so it was purely because of the game that he found himself wandering around the apartment property at 10:30 a.m. on a Tuesday.
The City of Austin has temporarily banned public gatherings. Please stay home. The Austin.com calendar is only for live digital events at this time.
For those who aren’t savvy to the rules of the game, the nature of Pokémon Eggs requires a player to walk a certain distance to Hatch them. This is how Lutz found himself in a position to do the most immediate good in a dire situation. After contacting 911, Darren Lutz didn’t Faint! No! He used Stamina and made a Fast Charge directly toward the flames, pounding on doors to alert the residents that their building was on fire.
Though six apartments were affected and eight residents were displaced, resulting in $115,000 in total damages, nobody was hurt thanks to Lutz’s quick reaction and the rapid response from emergency personnel. The Austin Fire Department later explained that up to 50 firefighters were dispatched to stop the blaze, due in part to the intensity of the fire destroying the attic-level sprinkler-system.
So, for those who say Pokémon Go is just a silly game, you may want to take that up with the residents of Ballpark East here in Austin. In terms of being invested in the health and well-being of your community, Pokémon Go is turning into something really special. After this incident, maybe they should change the tagline of the game to, “Gotta save ’em all!”
(H/T: Fox 7 Austin)