You may remember a story we shared at the end of June about a rescue of a construction worker who was dangling from a suspended scaffold 15 stories in the air. The Sarasota County Fire Department completed a very skilled rescue, in which one firefighter scaled down the side of the building to the trapped worker, attached him to a harness, and both men were hoisted back up to the roof. The cause of that failure was a snapped line. At that time, the fire chief mentioned that he rarely sees events like this and that only 5 or 6 rescues like this have happened in his 29 year career.
So imagine the fire chief’s and other Sarasota, Florida resident’s surprise when another suspended scaffolding collapse rescue had to occur less than a month after the previous one. The second rescue was at a different construction site, but the situation was eerily similar. One worker was 10 stories high on the outside of a new high rise condominium, when one of the two scaffold motors malfunctioned, sending one side down, while the other stayed put.
Thankfully, the worker was wearing his safety harness and was able to stay inside the basket until the fire department could get there and perform the rescue. In total, the man was stuck for around 2 hours before being lowered to the ground. One of the firefighters’ original ideas was to break through one of the windows to get the worker to safety, but, since they were rated for a hurricane, they agreed that would do more harm than good.
As bad as both of these scaffold failures looked, no fatalities occurred. It’s a strong reminder that wearing a harness can save your life in the event of an unforeseen malfunction. This is also a great reminder to inspect jobsite hoists and equipment prior to use.
New report from WFLA News Channel 8
20 minute raw video footage of the rescue from FOX 4 Now