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Photos: N.C. FFs rescue injured worker from tip of construction crane

A worker in Durham was hit by a piece of equipment and left hanging 150 feet about the ground


Durham Fire Department/Facebook

By Aaron Sánchez-Guerra
The News & Observer

DURHAM, N.C. — Hanging nearly 150 feet above the ground on a crane, a man working on the site of a downtown Durham high-rise Saturday morning was injured and needed help.

The Durham Fire Department came to his aid, making a swift rescue to bring him down safely with another construction crane.

Twenty-nine firefighters responded at around 9:35 a.m. to rescue the injured high-rise worker, who suffered non-life-threatening injuries on his left shoulder, side and back, according to a news release.

The worker was hit by a piece of equipment while dismantling a construction crane and fell off initially, suspended a few feet off of the crane with his safety harness, Durham fire chief Jeff Roberts told The News & Observer.

“This type of call is not common to us,” said Roberts. “(But) we try to train for all kinds of scenarios, and this particular type of scenario.”

The fire department’s Rescue 1 team was already at the scene and witnessed the injury occur on a crane several stories above. Responders were able to climb up a crane to the man within 20 minutes of dispatch, Durham fire officials said.

From there, fire rescue members used another crane used for building’s construction to lift a stokes basket to carry the worker. He was packaged and then lowered to the ground, where he was treated by Durham County emergency medical services.

Rescue teams would have had to set up a rope system to bring down the worker if the other crane hadn’t been there, Roberts said.

“It’s one of those (things) we train a lot for, but we usually never have them happen,” said Roberts. “We were fortunate that the other crane was there ... none of our ladder trucks would have been able to reach him.”

The incident occurred at the site of GeerHouse, a new 2..2-acre downtown development at 620 Foster Street being built next to Motorco Music Hall. It will be up to 18 stories tall, The News & Observer reported previously.

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