Window washers rescued – trapped 69 floors up

Quote of the Week   —   Posted on November 18, 2014

Window washers Juan Lopez and Juan Lizama take part in a news conference to recount their rescue from a malfunctioning scaffold on the side of One World Trade Center a day before in New York

Juan Lizama (left) and Juan Lopez during a news conference Friday. Lizama said he’d be willing to return to the job.

“I’m very happy to do this job every day. This job is giving me everything for my family, everything for me. That’s why I say God bless America.”
Window washer Juan Lizama, 42, who along with co-worker Juan Lopez, 33, was trapped for about an hour-and-a-half on a broken scaffold before being rescued by firefighters, who cut through a nearby 4,000-pound window in the south wall of the skyscraper to reach them.

Lizama described the first moments the workers became trapped outside the 69th floor. “Our training kicked in immediately,” the 14 year window cleaner said. “We were scared for a few minutes but once we had stabilized ourselves we knew we would be ok and someone would come to rescue us.”

Once everything was tightly fastened, all the two had to do was patiently wait to be rescued.

“It was a calmness,” Lopez said. “We knew everything was safe around us, beneath us. We knew it was just a matter of time when I saw the fire department and New York Police inside.”

Even though he said he’s going to stick with his job, Lopez has no plans to rise above the city streets any time soon. “As far as working back in the scaffold, there’s different jobs as well,” he added. “A lot of ground floor jobs. I’ll definitely be there. There’s other uses they can use us for, and I will probably do that.”

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