|Two window washers became trapped roughly four stories above downtown Traverse City on Thursday afternoon when their basket crane struck and downed a Consumers Energy power line. Click to enlarge.|
Life and death drama in air over Traverse City - A harrowing incident in downtown Traverse City concluded with happiness and relief when two window washers climbed off a fire engine ladder unscathed, roughly an hour after their basket crane struck a 46,000-volt power line and left the men suspended roughly four stories above the ground.
Traverse City Fire Department Chief Jim Tuller said the men seemed to be in “good spirits and in good health” as emergency medical personnel examined them in an ambulance. ”We brought them down without incident,” Tuller said. The Fish Window Cleaning employees became trapped in their crane outside River’s Edge condominiums near Lake Avenue and Cass Street at about 10:30 a.m. Thursday. Exactly how the crane struck and downed a Consumers Energy power line remains unclear.
The collision sent electricity surging through the piece of heavy equipment, eventually lighting the crane’s tires on fire. It also knocked out power for about 3,400 Consumers Energy customers in the area of Old Mission Peninsula, Consumers Energy spokesman Roger Morgenstern said. City firefighters arrived on scene to extinguish the blazing tires. They and other emergency personnel then roped off a parking lot behind the condominiums and the Hagerty Center with caution tape to keep spectators away from the crane and the downed line.
|Two stranded window washers prepare to move from their disabled basket crane to a fire engine ladder in downtown Traverse City on Thursday morning. Click to enlarge.|
A Consumers Energy employee was hoisted to the height of the window washers in a separate crane at about 11:30 a.m. He then served as a spotter while a firefighter rode an engine ladder to the same height and helped the trapped men out of the basket crane and onto the ladder, Tuller said. Tuller said his department’s firefighters undergo extensive electrical emergency training sessions. “They involve a lot of videos just like this, but they almost all end badly,” Tuller said.
The window washers did not speak with members of the media following the rescue. Jeff Trick, a Fish Window Cleaning sales employee who watched the rescue take place, declined to identify the window washers by name, but he said they were lucky to be alive. “Thank god they’re alive. That’s all I have to say,” Trick said. Bree Sanford, a Fish Window Cleaning general manager, did not return a call for additional comment.
|Nearly fried Fish for dinner.|
Consumers Energy crews restored power to their customers on the peninsula at about 12:30 p.m. Roughly 650 Traverse City Light & Power customers south of downtown near the Hagerty Center also lost power from about 10:30 a.m. until noon, said Tim Arends, TCL&P executive director. TCL&P crews discontinued power to a circuit in the area because the downed line caused a surge in a nearby TCL&P street lamp, and for the safety of rescue crews and the trapped window washers. TCL&P also experienced power problems near the intersection of Garfield Avenue and Boon Street, Arends said. Crews continue to work on those problems Thursday afternoon. It was not clear if they were related to the power line downed by the window washers.
Window washing truck gets stuck in power lines, disrupts power for thousands - Thousands lost power late this morning after a bucket truck that was washing windows got stuck in a 96,000 volt power line. Consumers Energy said it is their understanding that no one was hurt. Nearly 3,400 Consumers customers are without power, but officials estimate power will be back within the hour. In addition, 636 Traverse City Light and Power customers lost power but all have since been restored. Most of the customers affected by the outage were located on Old Mission Peninsula and near downtown Traverse City.
UPDATE: Power Restored to Grand Traverse County Residents - The two window washers who were stuck in the bucket truck are now safe on the ground. Neither of them were inured. Thousands are without power in Grand Traverse County after a window washer accidentally clipped a power line. Two window washers were still stuck in a bucket truck. They got caught up in the power line after the bucket truck tires caught fire, and the power line came down across several vehicles. The line was clipped near Hagerty Insurance in Traverse City. Nobody was hurt.