Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Scaffold Malfunction For Wilmington Window Washer

59-year-old Grayling Bolston was cleaning the 8th-floor exterior windows of the Bank of America building Tuesday morning when his scaffolding had a power failure and gave way. The dangling worker -- a veteran washer -- had spent about 25 minutes hanging off the building as about 100 onlookers watched firefighters make the high-angle rescue.
Window washer rescued after dangling from eighth story (Wilmington) – A mechanical failure left a window washer dangling by a rope Tuesday morning from the eighth story of a downtown building. City firefighters responded to an 8:53 a.m. 911 call from the Bank of America building at 1100 King St., Battalion Chief James R. Jones said at the scene. The block was closed to traffic as rescuers arrived, with Fire Chief Anthony S. Goode activating the fire department's high-angle rescue team to respond. A crowd gathered across the street, watching the drama unfold.

As crews went to the building's roof, preparing to rescue the dangling 59-year-old when the scaffolding operator managed to reengage its motors and bring up the scaffolding under his partner, Jobes said. As he was rescued, onlookers applauded and cheered. "He was suspended by only the rope for about 15 minutes," he said. The unidentified window washer, from Cassidy Painting, was evaluated for injuries and found to have none, Jobes said. He declined additional medical evaluation. 

"He's OK," said Derek Payne of Cassidy Painting, who said the window-washing job would be "suspended while we check the equipment out." The stranded employee, whom he did not identify, had engaged the "down" button when the mishap occurred, he said. "When he released the 'down' button, it didn't stop," Payne said. "One side came down, which left him dangling," he said, showing with his hand how the scaffold first was horizontal, then was left vertical. "It was a definite equipment failure," Payne said. The Cassidy crew was hired through Bellvue Holding Co. to clean the windows of the Bank of America building, he said.

Scaffolding gives way, window washer clings to rope 8 stories high in Wilmington - At approximately 8:53 a.m., on the 1100 N. King Street, Grayling Bolston was cleaning the 8th floor exterior windows of the Bank of America building when his scaffolding underwent a power failure and gave way, officials from the Wilmington Fire Department said. There, he hung by a rope for approximately 15 minutes while firefighters responded and prepared to rescue the man. 

Bolston said it felt longer. "30 minutes, it might've been longer, I wasn't keeping time at that time," said Bolston. "Upon arrival of fire department units, they witnessed the window washer suspended from 8th floor without the scaffolding near him," said Wilmington Fire Department spokesman James Jobes. "Talking with the operator of the scaffolding, they had a mechanical issue...which allowed the scaffolding to free-fall approximately two floors below the window washer."

Bolston, 59, said this wasn't the first time he's been stuck hanging from the side of a building. "I've been through this before," said Bolston. "It happened on a 30-story building. This isn't the first time." 
As the fire department was about to launch a rescue mission, Jobes said the operator was able to remedy the power issue, and conducted his own. "The operator of the scaffolding was able to reengage the power," Jobes said. "(He) went up and made a self-rescue." 

"It brought a crowd, I tell you that much because you don't see that everyday--a man hanging from a building, suspended with nothing underneath him, just hanging from a rope," said Bolston. "It can be scary for somebody that's never done it before." 

The window washer, was evaluated by emergency medical responders on scene and refused any additional treatment. He even tried to go back to work, but his supervisor sent him home for the day to relax. "You don't go home for that," he laughed. "You just continue to work man."

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