"They were definitely stranded. It wasn't going up and it wasn't coming down," said Deputy Chief Roy Hamm with the Houston Fire Department.
The three window washers dangled for nearly three hours.
"Got that little cable. You never know what's gonna happen," said eyewitness Roy Sharpley.
Sharpley's crew was working nearby and heard glass shatter. He then called for help.
"Looked up there and saw a piece of that window washing basket fall," said Sharpley.
"It just came straight on down. All you heard was a big old boom," said eyewitness Malcom Cole.
Cole had just walked past the sidewalk on his way to work when the fractured scaffolding fell.
"If somebody was walking past or standing right there it would've come down on their head," he said. "It probably would've busted their head wide open."
When the scaffolding broke, it knocked out a window.
"But that was no help to us because the area where the window was broken was not accessible, 55 was in between the floors," said Hamm.
The glass company took out a window pane, allowing rescue teams to lower harnesses to the guys. Eventually, they gingerly brought them in through a 44th story window, miraculously, without even a scratch.
"The man upstairs is looking after them real well, that's all I can say," said Sharpley.
Officials are still not sure how or why the scaffolding broke. The men happened to be on the shaded side of the building which helped them avoid heat stroke or dehydration because they weren't in direct sunlight.