2 city workers involved in unusual accidents

June 25, 1996|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

First, a window washer didn't tie his security rope and dangled nine stories from a downtown Baltimore office building. Then, a construction worker drove a small front-end loader off the fifth floor of a building and tumbled to the ground.

"It was kind of a strange day," said Battalion Chief Hector L. Torres, a city Fire Department spokesman.

The window washer was dazed but uninjured after being rescued by frightened office workers and firefighters. The construction worker was being treated at Johns Hopkins Hospital for a fractured spinal cord.

About 12: 30 p.m. yesterday the window washer, Steve Jones, started to work on the top floor of the First National Bank building in the 100 block of S. Paca St. He began to lower himself, but because the security rope wasn't tied, Jones dangled helplessly in his harness, Torres said.

Office workers thought the rope was slipping and punched out windows to pull the man inside. But the windows were too small. "There was a panic that set in," Torres said. "He was stuck there with people holding onto him."

Firefighters gave Jones a new security harness and hauled him up to the roof. He declined medical attention. "I think he was just happy to be off the side of the building," Torres said.

A call about 3 p.m. sent the Fire Department to a construction site in the 3000 block of N. Charles St. Torres said workers had cut holes in the side of a building to push debris out with Bobcats, small front-end loaders.

"At one point, the driver just kept going," Torres said. The vehicle tumbled 60 feet, flipping once, and landed on a pile of debris that had just been shoved off the floor. The driver, who was not identified pending notification of relatives, just missed falling another 20 feet into a deep pit.

Pub Date: 6/25/96

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