Crews rescue worker dangling on side of Kendall building

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Miami-Dade Fire Rescue crews have safely removed a man who was dangling on the side of an office building in a Kendall neighborhood.

Crews responded to the building at 11430 North Kendall Drive, late Thursday morning, after a roofer attached to a harness came crashing through a fourth-story window and was left hanging.

Janelle Vega, who works for a mortgage company with offices in the building, said it was clear the roofer feared for his life.

“I think there was a point where he did not think that he was going to make it,” she said.

Vega said office workers helped to keep the worker in good spirits before rescue crews arrived.

“He was very nervous. He had his eyes closed,” she said, “and then one of the other girls from the office helped kick out the rest of the window, and we were telling him to keep calm, that rescue was on the way.”

Once firefighters arrived, they performed the delicate rescue operation. It was especially challenging for crews because the roof of the building is slanted.

Meanwhile, Vega said, her tall office co-worker lent a helping hand.

“We happen to have an employee who is seven feet tall, so he got on the desk, and he reached out the window,” said Vega. “He was able to harness [the worker] with an extra harness that he had on the back, ’cause there was a guy on the roof holding that rope, and we harnessed him in, and we waited.”

Cellphone video captures Miami-Dade Police detectives as they helped rescue crews hold onto the worker.

Rescuers in hard hats and harnesses were able to safely bring the man down to the ground just after 12 p.m.

“I think he was very happy, let’s just say, to be alive,” said Vega.

“This could have been a lot worse than what it could have been,” said Frank Gonzalez with Empire Roofing.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Lt. Jean Joseph helped with the rescue.

“We were able to bring the platform bucket right below the windowsill. When we brought the platform underneath the windowsill, we were able to get one leg at a time,” he said. “It was very difficult, because where the bucket was we were only able to [grab] one leg at a time, but he was connected to the harness by his guys up top.”

Cellphone video captured employees’ cheers as rescuers were able to bring the worker to safety.

Joseph said he couldn’t have pulled off the rescue without his team.

“It was a team effort,” he said. “My guy was up there with me. Also, the team effort for the crew members, from the guy that was holding him up the whole time. The guy was holding him for a few minutes I heard, but it was a team effort.”

When asked if she ever imagined something like this would happen at work, Vega replied, “No. It’s always exciting at the end of the month, but not this exciting.”

Paramedics took the worker to an area hospital. He is expected to recover.

It remains unknown what happened before the worker was left dangling.

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