Dramatic Rescue in Belltown

Right place, right time


Back to Bill Caid's Home Page

The Experience

On Monday morning, I was on my way to work, I was confronted with the normal things. A view of the Space Needle and other sights on would associate with the Belltown area of Seattle. But, there was more. The building across the street from my workplace had been under construction for some time. Sadly, one of the construction workers suffered an on-the-job accident that require a rather dramatic rescue operation. I only had my "briefcase" camera, so the photos were not up to normal standards. The photos below are what I saw.

My normal "walking to work" view of the Needle, but also the view out of my office window.

This was a view of the building under construction. This is the 5th floor, with at least 2 more to go. This was taken about 2 weeks ago.

When I rounded the corner, I saw that the ladder truck was deployed and noticed that they were lifting a Stokes litter to the top floor of the building.

The litter deployment is complete, there are already other EMS personnel on the floor.

The balance of the EMS team is back at the rig waiting for arrival of the patient.

A view down the bore of the ladder.

The ladder truck was the "real deal" with big outriggers to counter act the torque of having the ladder extended at an angle.

Patient is loaded in the Stokes basket and is being lowered down. Note the 2 guy ropes to keep the basket steady during descent.

The dramatic part -- this is a long way down. I am assuming they told him to "keep your eyes shut", but who really knows? One thing for sure, you would not survive a fall from that height.

The stuff on top of him is his personal effects. This clearly states they did not expect him to be coming back that day.

Firefighters on the ground steady the basket for touchdown.

Back on terra firma. Now to get him out of the basket and onto the pram. They had already lashed him to a back board which is visible below if you look carefully.

The IV bottles were already hanging from the roof of the EMS rig.

Retracting the ladder after the rescue was complete. Concerned buddies watching the ambulance leave.

I was in EMS way back when. That is how I put myself through college. Seeing this rescue brought back a flood of memories, most not so savory. I was not able to determine what was wrong with the construction worker or how seriously injured he was. When I was working, my most hated question was "what happened?" followed closely by "is he OK?" and "will he be OK?". I used to spend my down time thinking up 101 smart ass answers for these most stupid questions. But, remembering my reaction to these questions, I did not pester the fire fighters. Probably just as well as they may have given me one of the smart ass answers that they have undobutedly thought about in their downtime.

As a side note, the crew that I saw was well organized and very professional. Clearly, this was a scenario they had trained for in the past. Kudos to SFD personnel and the training officer.

Back to Bill Caid's Home Page