Crews rescue trapped window washers

It didn't take crews long to rescue two window workers who became trapped on broken equipment in southwest Houston.

December 8, 2009 5:00:35 PM PST
Two window washers had a harrowing experience in Greenway Plaza. They were about 10 floors up when they encountered a problem with their scaffolding. We first brought you the rescue live on Eyewitness News just after 1pm. The high winds became fierce when they began to whirl and swirl around the Greenway Plaza high rises. At that point the men were trapped. Their scaffolding lines twisted, creating danger for the window washers and those below.

"It was rocking for a while," said eyewitness Scott Jennings. "I can imagine what happened is before they got it secured it went sideways and then just started taking out glass."

Fire officials say the two men were harnessed into the scaffolding and not in danger of falling, but they were stuck as the platform twisted in the wind.

HFD Chief Robert Schlieter explained, "Because it was being buffeted around, it broke several of the windows on the building. But they were unable to escape into the building because it went into a mechanical room wall and they couldn't get through it."

Firefighters broke out windows one floor up on the 11th floor and pulled the men inside. All of it happening in front of surprised and terrified office workers.

"I've have been in this complex for 14 years and I have never seen anything like this before," said eyewitness Scott Van Dyke. "They're cleaning our windows about twice a year and you'll see guys go up and down all the time, but you never see them break loose and guys holding on for their lives."

The two trapped men were not injured. They were treated on the scene and released.


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