|In Seattle today a window washer was seen repelling down after a scaffold malfunction.|
SEATTLE - Firefighters launched a rescue operation Tuesday after two window washers became stuck outside the upper floors of a high-rise building in downtown Seattle. Witnesses said that the window washers were trapped outside the 29th or 30th floor of the CenturyLink building in the 1600 block of 7th Avenue.
Firefighters responded to the scene and rappelled down to the rooftop of the building for a rope rescue. Both window washers then safely rappelled down one at a time the several stories to the ground below. Seattle Fire officials said it appears an equipment malfunction was to blame for the washers getting stuck.
|Folks on the ground were captivated after two window washers got stuck outside the 23rd floor of a high-rise building in Seattle Tuesday.|
Window washers rescued from Seattle high-rise: Everyone could see how high up they were. These window washers -- their company is called "Panefully Clean" - weren't cleaning anything by this time. Just stuck. And just about every head was stuck, too, looking up. "Looks pretty insane!" said Richard Tarkington after he'd been watching for 45 minutes.
"I see the two guys up there," said Tarkington, his neck craning toward the tower. "They look like they're stable. So it's not too bad. But they are stuck, that's for sure." Birdie Sharp was asked what her fascination was with it. "Because there's always something," said Sharp, laughing. "We had a man in a tree. Now we have men on the building."
The men told Seattle fire officials they began washing the windows at the old Century Link building in downtown Seattle at about 10 a.m. Tuesday. It was nearly 1 p.m. and they were just about done, when their platform stopped working. So Seattle Fire Rescue One was called in to bring them down. "We just verified the systems that the contractor already in place," said Seattle Fire Lt. Frank Brennan. "That they were satisfactory; that the workers were in good health."
Then firefighter Michael Vander Beek rappelled down to check on them. "Both the gentlemen were doing well on the platform," said Vander Beek. "I just checked in on them to make sure they were comfortable doing the rappel." And they were. Nearly two hours after they got stuck, each window washer managed to rappel safely to the ground.
"We do this regularly for training," said Vander Beek. "It all went as planned." In fact, this is the first time that firefighter got to do this in the real world. He has been with the rescue unit not quite a year, he says. The window washers declined to talk.