Oakland Fire Crew Rescues Window Washers from High-Rise

Oakland paramedic and firefighter Brian Fukuhara isn’t fond of heights, but it didn’t stop him from rappelling down the side of a high-rise building Thursday morning to rescue two window washers trapped some 200 feet above downtown Oakland, reports the Oakland Tribune.

“I’m a little afraid of heights,” Fukuhara said.

The two window washers, whose names and the company they work for were not available, had been stranded outside the 19th floor of a high rise for nearly two hours before employees inside realized they were in trouble and called for help about 10:45 a.m.

The two men, who weren’t available for interview after the rescue, thought they could get their platform to work again, but one of the motors was broken and getting it to move up or down was impossible, officials said.

Fukuhara said the two men were in good spirits but a little dehydrated when he reached them, about 50 feet below the roof. They were very calm, and one of them who had been washing windows at the building for more than six years was “clearly was comfortable with heights,” Fukuhara said.

Both men had extra harnesses placed on them. One was hoisted to the roof at about 11:30 a.m. and the other about five minutes later, to the applause and cheers of hundreds gathered in the street below.

Fukuhara was pulled back up to the roof by 11:50 a.m.

He said that because of the potential danger, he did have “a little bit of anxiety and stress, but that’s what you train for.”

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