Menlo Park: Firefighters rescue two men from lift basket stuck 80 feet in the air


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."


Follow the Almanac on Twitter and Facebook for breaking news, local events and community news.

— Dave Boyce

What is community worth to you?
Support local journalism.


6 people like this
Posted by Jim
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 7, 2016 at 12:59 pm

Nice work FD! I bet the two guys had some choice words for guy that said "Let me just run it to the top to re-set it"

Like this comment
Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 7, 2016 at 3:13 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

I also can imagin the language. Think he is still employed?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

All your news. All in one place. Every day.

After experiencing harassment, owner of Zareen's restaurants speaks out about Islamophobia, racism
By Elena Kadvany | 28 comments | 8,198 views

Good News: The New Menlo Park Rail Subcommittee Hits A Home Run
By Dana Hendrickson | 12 comments | 1,722 views

Premarital and Couples: Tips for Hearing (Listening) and Being Known
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,357 views

Two degrees can do all that?
By Sherry Listgarten | 3 comments | 892 views

Tame, Maim and Claim the Wild Sea Vegetable
By Laura Stec | 1 comment | 478 views


Register today!

On Friday, October 11, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

Learn More