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Workers get help off tall building

Wed., April 27, 2005

Hanging outside one of Spokane’s tallest buildings wasn’t scary, just boring, said two workers who spent much of Tuesday afternoon contemplating how to make it to the roof after an equipment failure left them stranded.

The men were on a platform about 1 p.m. preparing Metropolitan Financial Center’s exterior for a chemical wash when they noticed they could no longer move the stage along the building. They were stuck next to the structure’s south side, about 15 feet from the top.

The 17-story building is under renovation and will soon be named after Wells Fargo, which plans to move to the site later this year.

The men, Rob Washburn and Greg Moter, said they have no qualms going back on the stage as soon as they can.

“As far as safety issues, nothing failed,” Washburn said. “We work up there all day.”

After workers spent about three hours trying to correct the malfunction, firefighters were called about 4:25 p.m. to remove Washburn and Moter.

Spokane Fire Department’s Technical Rescue Team dropped Calvin Groth, a fire equipment operator, by rope to the stage.

He attached each man to a harness and rope, and each was brought safely to the roof, one at a time.

The team is trained to rescue people from buildings, confined spaces and dangerous terrain, said Lt. Brian Faulkner, who led Tuesday’s operation.

“The two guys were real calm and easy to work with,” he said.

The center is well known to the team, which used the building for a training exercise a few years ago.

Noting that the men weren’t in much danger, Faulkner called Tuesday’s event “the best practice you can get.”


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