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Workers Saved After Scaffold Fails

July 17, 2000

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (AP) _ A firefighter rappeled down the side of an 18-story office building Monday to rescue a worker left dangling when one side of a scaffolding fell.

Two men were on the scaffolding performing sandblasting work on the Travelers Building when it partially collapsed. Firefighters used a ladder truck to rescue one man hanging onto a rope about five stories above the ground.

But the other worker was at the eighth floor, hanging onto the scaffolding itself with the help of what appeared to be a safety harness.

Rescuers broke out a window to try to reach him, but were unsuccessful. Firefighter Nick Owen finally had to rappel down the side of the building and attach a second safety harness to the worker, and then both were lowered down the side of the building to safety.

``I just wanted to make sure he was OK,″ said Owen, 37. ``We just had a nice conversation on the way down. ... He was worried about his wife seeing it on TV.″

The scaffolding had a banner that said ``Western Waterproofing.″ The woman who answered the phone at the company’s Ypsilanti office said her boss was on the way to the scene but would not comment further.

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