West Lafayette, IN (CBS/WLFI) -- A Montgomery County man invents a device he says may save the lives of people in danger. The tragedies of September 11-th have inspired Quick Escape.

Tony Smith was at home in Montgomery County on September 11, 2001. He says, "Me and the wife were sitting here watching that and I think everybody kind of had the same feeling when they were watching that. Is this real?"

Glued to his TV watching the tragic events unfold, Smith says he couldn't stop thinking about the people stranded in the Twin Towers.

Hundreds of feet above the ground, many had no way to escape. Smith says that's when he had the idea to invent a device that would allow people to descend from a high rise building down to safety. He says, "Probably within a half-hour I pretty much had this thing drawn up. A little picture of it and everything fell into place with it."

Within days Smith made the device in his garage and traveled to Indianapolis to patent "Quick Escape".

The unique device has a hard shell that protects your head from falling debris, a cable that could hold up to 1700 pounds and handles that won't release your hands. Smith says it catches your hands, so if you aren't able to hold on it will still hold you. He says, "Your adrenaline is so intense that by the time you get out there, there is a good possibility you could faint or pass out and it's not going to let you lose. The way the hand grabs grab you it's just not going to drop you."

During the past 12 years the device has changed. For now he removed the cable and is focusing on a device that can be tossed to the person in need. Smith says it's ideal for rescuing people from wells, waterways, and at the bottom of cliffs.

He says he's only doing it for one reason, "Just save a life. To me if it saves one life everything I've put into it would be worth it."

Smith says he's visited a number of agencies in the state that have showed interest in his invention.

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