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2 window washers rescued from 37th story

Two window washers clinging to a dangling platform 37 stories up on a downtown Boston building were rescued by firefighters Wednesday.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Two window washers clinging to a dangling platform 37 stories up on a downtown Boston building were rescued by firefighters Wednesday.

Firefighters broke a couple of windows on the 40-story building to get to the workers, who were stranded on the platform for about 20 minutes. Their hanging scaffolding malfunctioned and one side of the basket dropped on the side of the office building in the city's financial district, Boston Fire Department Deputy Chief Robert Calobrisi said.

Authorities secured the area from pedestrians near the end of the busy morning commute while glass fell from the building.

"It's always a dangerous rescue when you're up that high," Calobrisi said.

The platform somehow shifted downward on one side while the workers, whose names have not been released, were cleaning windows on the 37th floor, Calobrisi said. They were trapped on the platform until firefighters arrived.

"He was shaken up and rightfully so," Lt. John Soares said of one of the window washers. "It's 37 floors. It's a beautiful view from there, but I don't know if I wanted to do it like that."

‘They were panicking’
David Surprenant, a private contractor who works on the 38th floor, said the workers could be heard banging on the window and screaming for someone to call for help.

"They were panicking," Surprenant said.

Meanwhile, a crowd of curious businessmen and passers-by gathered below, craning to get a better view of the morning's commotion.

One onlooker, 38-year-old Ronnie Lees, snapped a photo of the crooked scaffolding on his cell phone as his children stared at the glass-fronted high-rise near the Old State House and Faneuil Hall, which has served as a marketplace and meeting hall used by Samuel Adams and other patriots since 1742.

"Where's Spiderman when you need him?" Lees asked.

One of the workers was transported to a hospital for minor injuries, and the other refused medical care, officials said. Neither was seriously hurt.

What caused the platform to tilt?
Authorities stabilized the scaffolding and hoisted it onto the roof Wednesday afternoon, fire department spokesman Steve MacDonald said. Officials were still investigating what caused the platform to tilt.

Melissa Coley, spokeswoman for building owner, Brookfield Properties, Inc., said the men worked for Harvard Maintenance Inc., a national company that services office buildings. Investigators were still trying to determine if a cable snapped, she said.

A spokeswoman for Harvard Maintenance Inc. did not immediately return phone calls.

Fire officials were waiting for a scaffolding engineer to stabilize the platform.