|Two men escaped serious injury Tuesday morning when their scaffolding failed.|
Crews rescue men dangling from downtown building: MEMPHIS, TN - Emergency crews were called to the Sterick Building downtown where a few men were seen dangling from the building. The men were rescued just after 9 a.m. on Tuesday. Witnesses tell WMC Action News 5 that the men are window washers. The Sterick Building is located at the intersection at North Third Avenue and Court Avenue. WMC Action News 5's Nick Kenney is at the scene where the men were rescued. He will explain what happened and how they were brought to safety on the news at 5 p.m.
Two men escape injury as scaffold fails near top of Downtown Memphis building: Two men escaped serious injury Tuesday morning when their scaffolding failed, leaving at least one of them dangling more than 28 stories above Downtown MEMPHIS, TN. Both men were part of a crew from the Structural Waterproofing and Restoration company, charged with preventing further deterioration of the long-vacant Sterick Building at Third and Madison.
As the men used a motor-driven scaffold to scale the 29-story building a little after 8:30 a.m., one motor malfunctioned. While that motor stopped around the 26th floor, the second one kept climbing to the 28th. That left the scaffold in a precarious position, hanging diagonally, Memphis Fire Department spokesman Lt. Wayne Cooke said.
One of the workers toppled off the lower side of the scaffold, but was saved by his safety harness. Although he dangled off the scaffold for several minutes, the man and his colleague both managed to break open a window in the building and clamber back inside. “One motor got stuck in the down position and basically one side kept going and the other stopped,” said Mike Kennedy, Structural owner. “This rig is safer than most rigs. All the safety mechanisms worked, and nobody was hurt.”
As the men worked to save themselves, an MFD special operations team trained in such rescues was slowly making its way up the building’s stairwell. Nine firefighters carrying rope and other mechanical gear in bags weighing up to 100 pounds climbed all 29 stories before determining that the men were safely inside. “We hiked it all the way up,” MFD Battalion Chief Ronny Beasley said, “and when we got to the top, they told us the service elevator was working.”
The drama played out as several Downtown workers watched in amazement. “I looked back and saw glass shatter. The scaffolding broke,” said Kimberly Thompson, a nearby parking-lot attendant who said she watches the men work every day. “The harness saved him. That’s what saved his life.” Greg Tate, a security guard at a nearby hotel, guessed that the man dangled for at least 10 minutes before working his way back inside. “I saw the guy hanging off the edge,” Tate said. “They’ve very fortunate people.”
Perhaps surprisingly, each witness said the man remained calm as he dangled over Third. “No, no, he wasn’t yelling. I would’ve been,” said Frederic Merritt, who works in a barber shop directly across from the Sterick Building. “I joke when those guys all the time, ‘You don’t get paid enough.’”