About seven minutes after receiving a 911 call requesting a rescue at a construction site on Friday, Nov. 4, firefighters arrived on the scene at 1315 O'Brien Drive in Menlo Park. They had come in a fire engine equipped with a 24-foot ladder in response to the call, which came in shortly after 1:30 p.m. In short order, they determined that their ladder would not be long enough.
Two men working on a two-story structure were stuck in the air, 70 to 80 feet above the ground, in the basket of a cherry picker whose hydraulics had failed, Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District said.
When the basket would not lower, a mechanic tried to reset it by raising it. The basket did go up, but it would not come back down, the chief said.
The men had been stranded in the basket for more than two and a half hours, the chief said.
Some seven minutes after the arrival of the fire engine and its crew, firefighters trained for high- and low-angle rescues arrived in a fire truck equipped with a telescopic 100-foot ladder.
Firefighters had the two men back on the ground about 40 minutes later, shortly before 2:20 p.m., the chief said.
While such rescues are rare, it's worth noting the varied uses of a ladder truck, the chief said.
Battalion Chief Ben Marra cited another recent incident: "Just a few months ago we used a different technique to lift an injured worker out of a large basement under construction.
"High or low, the versatility of the ladder, the equipment on the truck and the training and experience of the firefighters themselves make this vehicle invaluable for unique technical rescue situations."