Painter Leaps to Escape Fire

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Sometimes you have to be brave whether you like it or not. A painter in Oxford, Alabama, working high up in a cherry picker, was painting the side of a building when the crane he was in ran into some overhead power lines. This caused the bottom of the machine to catch fire, while the painter was trapped in the cherry picker high up in the air. Firefighters at the scene had no time to get a fire rescue air cushion, so they worked with what they had; they stretched out a tent they found at a nearby Harley dealership and encouraged the man to jump.

At first he hesitated, but the fire grew quickly and soon engulfed him in smoke while an explosion rocked the bottom of the crane. Realizing it was his only chance at survival, he took the 25 foot leap feet from the cherry picker to the tent, after which he was flown to a nearby hospital and treated for a leg injury and smoke inhalation.


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God bless the painter! It was surely his fortunate day! We've all been there at one time or another, maybe not as dangerous as this one but dangerous none-the-less. Painting can be a risky business and serving apprenticeships with established contractors and having good training pays off at a time like this.

I am glad that the painter was rescue safely and taken to the hospital to be looked at. When the painter started doing this job did he have a supervisor on site to explain to him about the distance that he should have been from the power lines? Did he a safety man on site if not why?

Our approach is, the man aloft drives. Ground is only there for emergencies and when necessary warnings. So if our lift runs into something we know why.

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