There was a dramatic scene in downtown Edmonton Friday afternoon as a window washer was rescued from suspended scaffolding on the outside of the building.
Brittany Lewchuk with Edmonton Fire Rescue Services said a call for a high angle rescue came in at 12:52 p.m.
Video taken during the incident showed a large piece of suspended scaffolding swinging around on the outside of the building, crashing into the windows.
Lewchuk said there were two people on the scaffolding, one of whom was dangling by a safety harness and had to be rescued by fire crews. The suspended scaffolding was about five floors up on the outside of the east side of the building.
“There was some maintenance happening on swing stages on the side of the building and something happened, I’m not sure exactly what caused it, but one of the guys was hanging from a safety harness,” explained Scott Macdonald, deputy chief of operation with Edmonton Fire Rescue Services.
Fire crews used a ladder truck, along with ropes and a pulley system on the ground, to get the scaffolding down and bring the man to safety.
“They were just able to reach the individual with the aerial ladder. So we had our technical rescue team here but they didn’t have to go into action because we were able to get the reach required with the ladder,” Macdonald said.
“So just a matter of getting into the bucket and bringing him down.”
Five fire crews were called to the scene. High winds in the downtown core made the rescue operation challenging, Macdonald said.
“Getting the swing stage down, we just had to pull it out from the building. Between the swing stage and the cables banging against the glass, we didn’t want to break anymore glass or cause more of a safety hazard.”
A wind warning was in place for Edmonton at the time, but fire crews could not confirm if the wind led to the incident.
Windows on the east side of the 66-storey building were broken, Lewchuk said.
102 Street, between the Stantec Tower and Edmonton Tower, was shut down to traffic and police were on scene Friday afternoon while the operation was underway.
Macdonald said EPS and AHS were also on scene to help with the rescue.
Both workers made it down to the ground safely without injury, Macdonald said.
PCL Construction said in a statement that the cause of the incident is currently under investigation.
“The worker did not suffer any injuries thanks to his fall protection harness, but did need the assistance of firefighters to safely bring him down unharmed,” PCL Construction said.
“We would like to thank Edmonton Fire Rescue Services for their quick response and help with this incident.”
Stantec said the area inside the building was cordoned off and no one inside was injured.
Work was still being done Friday afternoon to clean up broken glass from the ground and outside of the building.
Trent Bancarz with Alberta Labour said Occupational Health and Safety is aware of the incident but not investigating at this time.