Two workers were pulled to safety Wednesday afternoon after being trapped on a scaffold rig outside the Hearst Tower in Midtown. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.
Police evacuated Eighth Avenue between 56th Street and 57th Street Wednesday while two maintenance workers on a broken scaffolding more than 40 floors above waited for rescue.
Firefighters said the central motor in the scaffolding broke, buckling the apparatus into a shape approaching the letter "v."
"We were on the scene within four minutes," said Deputy Assistant Chief James Leonard of the New York City Fire Department.
First responders said they lowered ropes from the roof of the Hearst Building to the workers trapped outside.
"'All this for us?' That's what they said," said Moses Nelson, an EMS paramedic.
Crews used specialized power tools to cut four-foot by four-foot holes in the skyscraper's windows to get to the workers. Some of the glass crashed to the ground.
"That's why you saw the street closures," Leonard said. "We create a safety zone."
"You're worried about getting these guys in, and the training takes over," said Tom Gayron of the FDNY.
Gayron crawled out of the cut window on the 44th floor to help the workers.
"We were able to tie off the scaffolding from the inside of the building, pull it tight to the building, were just assisting them, one hand inside, one hand outside, and they're on their ropes, and with the members of the roof, they lower as we walk him in," Gayron said.
The whole operation took 90 minutes. Then, rescuers brought the broken scaffolding back to the roof.
"Through it all, we was praying for them that they got them down safely, so just hearing that they in safely, I thank god for that," said one person at the scene.
Firefighters said the two workers are OK and that they had good spirits the entire time the operation was going on.
A portion of Eighth Avenue near the building was reopened at 10:20 p.m. Wednesday after they determined that glass was no longer falling from the cut window.