Workers stuck when platform breaks on tower

Two men were stranded yesterday high above the street in sub-zero temperatures when the elevating platform they were working on got stuck.


The men were inspecting caulking work on the outside of the L’Esplanade Laurier office tower when their swing stage climber ground to a halt against the face of the building, 22 storeys up.


“They were working on the building … when the equipment malfunctioned,” Ottawa Fire Department Captain Dave Joyce said at the scene.


One of the men called for help from a cellphone at 11:36 a.m., Joyce said. Thirty-five firefighters, ladder trucks and technical rescue crews responded. Ottawa Police closed sections of Laurier Avenue and O’Connor Street as a precaution.

The lift was stable, but stuck about 10 feet from the tower’s roof. Rescue team workers rappelled down to the men and hoisted them to safety.

“It was a fairly simple rescue for our guys,” said Joyce. “The only problem was the cold weather … It’s more complicated in the winter.”

One of the men, Mark Van Dalen, said afterwards he could not comment except to confirm he and his colleague were uninjured.

The Ministry of Labour has issued an order to Dominion Caulking to provide chafing protection for the climber’s lifelines on the side of the building, said spokesman Bruce Skeaff.

The incident drew the attention of the passing lunch crowd, said witness Rob Hill, who watched it all from a nearby coffee shop.

The men on the climber alternately paced about or sat down while awaiting rescue.

“They must have been pretty cold,” Hill said.