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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade Fire Rescue performed a perilous rescue of two men left dangling on the side of a Palmetto Bay building after their scaffolding partially collapsed.
The workers were on the side of the building at 18001 Old Cutler Road when a swing stage scaffold collapsed. The four story building was once the headquarters of Burger King.
One of the workers was left dangling on the side of the building by his safety harness. The other was trapped a part of the scaffold which did not drop.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue firefighter Maggie Castro was lowered from the roof to the man who was dangling. Castro was able to strap the man into a harness and then they were lowered to a waiting rescue crew.
“We decided to take the one hanging first since there is always the possibility of injury after hanging that long,” she said.
Castro then went back to the roof to go after the second worker.
“From there we reset all of our equipment and we went down and took the second patient off of his system (safety harness) and then lowered him to the platform as well,” said Castro.
The workers were dangling on the side of the building for at least an hour before they were rescued.
“They were both very calm. The one that was dangling was obviously a little more uncomfortable. But they were both very calm, both easy to reassure, they felt like they were safe,” said Castro.
Castro, a 14-year veteran, added that Miami-Dade Fire Rescue trains for this type of call all the time and she was glad to be able to put that training into practice.
“It feels good that we can to do this to help people after the training we do all the time,” she said.
She said, “As soon as we heard the call when my partner and I were on the turnpike we went and got dressed and got our equipment and as soon as arrived we were ready to go.”
Kelly Craig, a spokeswoman for the Village of Palmetto Bay, told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that “Maggie Castro was a hero today. You never know when things like this are going to happen. This is why they train over and over.”
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue released a montage of photographs and video showing the tense moments as the technical rescue units that are comprised of emergency medical response firefighters took action. They are part of a specially trained unit.
Craig said, “She rappelled down 10 to 12 feet and literally wrapped herself around as she called ‘the patient’ to untether him and re-tether him and herself to get them down the building to safety. Both men walked away to safety.”
“We’re personally grateful for the men and women in uniform,” said Marcos Rodriguez with Florida Lemark Corp. “Because of their efforts, they get to go home to their families today.”
The Vice President of the company said his workers were using rental equipment and inspecting the building for sealant and replacing sealant when the scaffolding collapsed.
D’Oench caught up with both men outside the building after they were rescued. They told him they were ordered not to say anything or comment but they did say they are going to be ok.
It’s not clear what caused the scaffolding to collapse. It’s expected that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will join the investigation.