A crane was used in a dramatic rescue to save two individuals from a blazing high-rise building.
The man operating the machine described the situation as a “narrow escape.” Glen Edwards had to take immediate action when a massive fire erupted at the construction site in Reading.
Video circulating on social media depicted the rescue of a worker in a white cage, utilizing a crane operated by Edwards. Onlookers on the ground cheered as the worker was lifted to safety.
Edwards, 65, from Egham in Surrey, said: “I was no more than 20 metres up in the air and I looked out my left-hand window and saw a guy standing on the corner of the building.
“I had just spotted him when someone asked me, “Can you put the cage on?” So I quickly put the cage on and brought it over to him as best as I could. The wind was quite strong that day. It was a close call, especially when you watch the video and see how the wind was swirling around.”
“I attempted to place the cage between him and the fire, but the swirling wind made it difficult. However, I successfully lowered the cage and was able to rescue him inside.”
The man was subsequently brought down to the ground. Edwards, who had been employed at the location prior to the fire, downplayed his courageous actions, stating: “I don’t want to exaggerate, that’s not my character.”
Firefighters reported that a second individual was also rescued from the structure using a crane. According to Christopher Hutton, a member of the Royal Berkshire fire and rescue service, they received notification of a fire at Station Hill in Reading around 11:30am. At its height, more than 50 firefighters from various stations in the county were present at the scene. The fire was discovered in a tall building that was still being built. Firefighters, wearing breathing apparatus, utilized two primary jets to put out the fire.
“We have been informed that a crane successfully rescued two individuals and they are now under the care of the South Central ambulance service. Thankfully, everyone else has been confirmed to be safe. The fire has been put out and our resources have been reduced at the site, although some crews will stay to ensure the area is fully extinguished.”
A spokesperson for the South Central ambulance service stated that two individuals were transported to the Royal Berkshire hospital. They also mentioned that both cases were not severe.
This is the second occurrence within a few months of a fire erupting at the construction location, with the previous one happening in July. As a result, the Thames Valley police have declared it a major incident.
The fire occurred on the 12th and 13th floors of the building, and the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that it was promptly identified and put out.