Montreal firefighters save 2 workers dangling on 17th floor after scaffolding collapse in Côte Saint-Luc
Members of the Montreal Fire Department “spider-man” unit successfully completed a daring rescue Thursday morning in Côte Saint-Luc.
Two men in their 40s were on a suspended scaffold doing work near the 17th floor of a high-rise apartment near the corner of Kildare and Cavendish when the platform collapsed on one side.
“At 8:15 a.m. this morning, we were called to respond to a high-angle rescue in Côte Saint-Luc for two workers who were stranded, suspended from their safety harnesses,” said Montreal Fire Department operations Chief David Shelton.
Firefighters arrived on the scene within minutes, and by 8:30 a.m., the high-angle rescue team were on the scene installing a pulley system on the roof of the 20-floor building. By around 9 a.m., both of the men had been rescued.
“From the roof, we lowered rescuers over the side. Considering the scaffolding was unstable, we raised the workers up from the level where they were stuck, and brought them indoors through a 19th-storey window,” Shelton explained.
He said the firefighters would have preferred to lower the workers from the 17th floor all the way down to the ground.
Shelton said the rescue team is equipped with cords long enough for someone to repel down Place Ville Marie, but the concern was that the scaffolding could shift or fall down completely.
Police closed the stretch of Cavendish in front of the building for several hours.
The two men were transported to hospital after their rescue, according to Urgences-Santé spokesman Stéphane Gascon. He told Global News the men were in shock and had minor injuries from the fall.
The Montreal Fire Department saluted the rescue team for their success.
“Our high-angle rescue teams train a great deal,” said Shelton. “We have three stations that are specialized in high-angle and confined rescue. They work together, they work hard and they train regularly.” The Cavendish rescuers came from a fire station in Cote-des-Neiges.
Late Thursday afternoon, inspectors from the Quebec workplace safety board (CNESST) were still gathering evidence at the scene in an effort to piece together what led to the accident.
“They’re looking into what happened, and working with the engineers on site,” said CNESST spokesperson Julie Robitaille. She added that all scaffolding on the building will be analyzed.
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