The young woman rescued from a crane pulley towering into the sky on Wednesday morning owes her life to veteran firefighter Rob Wonfor.
Wonfor, 52, has 22 years of firefighting experience. He made the slow climb up the inside of the crane beginning at about 6 a.m ET before reaching the woman and strapping her into a harness.
By 8:30 a.m., Wonfor and the woman had been safely lowered to the ground. After being checked out by paramedics, he spoke to the media about the rescue.
Q: How did she get up there?
Wonfor: She has to tell me how she did it because she’s going to be our new training officer for high-angle rescues, because it’s impressive. It was hard enough for me to go up, and she free climbed that. It’s incredible.
Q: Take us through what happened.
Wonfor: After we spotted her with binoculars, it was dark, so we had a tough time spotting her, but we realized we did have someone up there. We had heavy squads here and good trained crews, and the captains took the lead and decided what we were going to do. The chief decided we were going to go get her. We weren’t sure if we were going to be able to move the crane properly and get it down, so we said, ‘OK, we’ll execute a rescue, away we go.’
Q: How hard was it to climb up the crane with all your gear?
Wonfor: It got heavy but you know, you’re focused on your job. There was nobody else coming besides us, so you just have to get it done.
Firefighter has successfully lowered down and made contact with woman. pic.twitter.com/guw9sqxS5c
Q: What did you say when you got up there?
Wonfor: We just talked, said my name, told her to stay calm, she said, ‘Yeah, great, glad to see you up here to help me.’
Q: Was she frightened?
Wonfor: She was very calm, so she made me calm actually.
Q: Did you get her name?
Wonfor: We didn’t even get into that about names. We just…