Firefighter overcomes fear of heights to rescue workers dangling from skyscraper

Jacksonville Fire Department firefighter Patrick Schneider responded to his first high rise call to save two men who were dangling from the side of the building

By FireRescue1 Staff

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A firefighter who was part of a crew that saved two workers from the side of a high-rise building said he had to overcome his fear of heights to assist in the rescue.

News4JAX reported that Jacksonville Fire Department firefighter Patrick Schneider responded to his first high-rise rescue Tuesday when two waterproofers became stuck on the side of a BB&T Bank skyscraper.

"I just grabbed as much gear as I could -- rope, rigging, bags -- (and) headed to the roof," Schneider said. "They looked like two ants hanging there. All you saw was their boots dangling. It's something I've never seen before. A million emotions are running over you. And that's what we do -- we fall back on our training to suppress that and just do your job."

Schneider secured the dangling scaffolding to the building so it would not fall.

"I don't like heights," he said. "I did what I needed to do but I was like dragging knuckles going down the side of the building."

Schneider credited his colleagues for keeping everyone safe in the rescue.

"They were manually holding those lines," he said. "Those guys were hanging over a building, held by those buddies they work with."

"I'm really fortunate to be a part of this fire station and this department,” said Justin Smith, who helped hold the lines. “We're highly trained. We have the best equipment that is out there and we're very proficient with it. I think that may be comforting to folks in the city to know that, when they call, they're getting the best."

The two workers were brought safely to the ground by the firefighters.


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