Window washers rescued from collapsed 44th-floor scaffolding

Window-washing scaffolding on the 44th floor of the Hearst Building folded in half with two workers on it. Emergency Service Unit cops deployed to rescue the window washers. Credit: Danielle Tcholakian
Window-washing scaffolding on the 44th floor of the Hearst Building folded in half with two workers on it. Emergency Service Unit cops deployed to rescue the window washers. Credit: Danielle Tcholakian

Police report that Emergency Service Unit cops rescued two window washers at the Hearst Building on 57th Street who were on a collapsed scaffolding 44 stories above ground on Wednesday.

The ESU cops removed the windows on the 44th floor and attached safety harnesses to the two workers, cops said.

The scaffold apparently folded in half, cops said, which it is designed to do when not in use.

An extensive profile of this window-washing scaffolding appeared in the New Yorker a few months ago.

The New Yorker called the machinery the most complex window-washing rig in New York. It reportedly took engineers three years to design the $3 million system, which has 67 electromechanical safety sensors and switches.

The rig reportedly runs along 420 feets of elevated steel track at the top of the building, and it takes an hour every morning to conduct thorough safety checks.

Police identified the window-washers as Bronx resident Victor Caraballo, 26, and Brooklyn resident Stephen Schmidt, 49.

Both men work for a company called Tractel, cops said, which operates out of Long Island City in Queens.

Both men reportedly refused medical attention at the scene and were not transported to a hospital.

A woman who works in the Hearst Building told Metro the scaffolding “looked crazy” from the inside, although she said she herself does not work on the 44th Floor.

“That’s where all the big dogs work,” she said. “All the guys who are, like, 50 or 60.”

 

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat


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