Hero Firefighter Saves Dangling Workers

By Pei-Sze Cheng
|  Saturday, Mar 5, 2011  |  Updated 4:20 PM EDT
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Using ropes to descend a hi-rise, hero firefighters say two workers stranded on a building.

Using ropes to descend a hi-rise, hero firefighters say two workers stranded on a building.

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First Worker Rescued from Yonkers Building

A first worker is rescued by a firefighter some 13 stories up a Yonkers building.

Second Worker Rescued from Collapsed Scaffolding

A second man in Yonkers is rescued by firefighters.
More Photos and Videos

A Yonkers firefighter was hailed a hero after he made a daring rescue thirteen stories above ground to save two workers who were left dangling after a scaffolding collapse.

"Typically, we go to a window above the victims," said Chief William Fitzpatrick. "But because the blind shaft was in our way, we had to try this 27 stories above."

Firefighters set up what's called a rig on the roof of the high-rise on Nepperhan Avenue. From there, they lowered firefighter Mike Giroux to the workers through a series of ropes and harnesses.

"Coordination was very important," said Capt. Rudy Sarro.  "We had to make sure all the knots were tied.  It was nerve wracking up there."

Firefighters had to decide which worker to save first. They decided to rescue the more jittery worker because they feared if he moved too much, the other worker could be affected.

Once Giroux was close enough, he harnessed the worker so that the two were essentially tied together.  And then they were lowered to the ground.

"As soon as I hook up my line I say to him. You're okay now," said Giroux. "You're not going anywhere unless I go with you."

Giroux repeated the same technique to save the second man.  Both workers were placed on stretchers and brought to the hospital.

According to Chief Fitzpatrick, many of his firefighters are trained to do this type of rope rescue, but Giroux was the natural choice.

"He is the most experienced," said Fitzpatrick. "The best at what he does not only in the department but in the country."
 
But ever humble, the hero of the day chose to praise his department.    

"If anything, this validates our training," Giroux said. "We did our jobs. Nobody got hurt. It's a good day for everybody."

But there are at least two people Giroux would not mind playing hero to -- his two children, 13 and nine years old.

"My little one was pretty excited. She said 'Dad! I saw you on TV!' So it's a good day."
 

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