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Stranded window washers rescued at Vegas Strip's Vdara hotel

July 26, 2012|By John M. Glionna

LAS VEGAS – Just admit it: How many times have you gazed up at a crew of window washers and had your blood turn to water and told yourself, "No way, no how, would I do that job”? You could fall, or have something else bad happen up there.

On Wednesday, something else bad did happen here to four window washers: They got stranded on their platform for several hours, dangling over the Strip outside the – Yowsa! – 35th floor of a high-rise hotel until they were rescued by firefighters who rapelled to their aid.

Nobody was hurt, but some egos were no doubt bruised.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Clark County and Las Vegas firefighters spent three hours rigging ropes and descending from the roof of the 46-story Vdara Hotel to harness and lower the workers one at a time to a landing area below.

Clark County spokeswoman Stacey Welling told the newspaper that two dozen firefighters were summoned about noon after the men reported that their work platform appeared to be slipping due to a mechanical malfunction.

The Vdara is one of several glassy CityCenter complex hotels built by MGM Resorts International and Dubai World. The surrounding 67-acre development opened in December 2009, with the Aria, Veer and Mandarin Oriental hotels, a casino and the upscale Crystals shopping and restaurant complex. The flawed Harmon hotel and condominium tower never opened.

With temperatures hovering at 104 degrees, the first firefighter to reach the men brought bottled water as TV crews reported the rescue live on local television.

Las Vegas fire spokesman Tim Szymanski said the city's high-angle rescue team trains regularly for similar situations. Because stuff happens up there.

In March 2009, firefighters rescued two window washers who suffered minor injuries when a cable holding their platform snapped during gusty winds outside the Wynn Resorts-owned Encore Las Vegas.

Both men were wearing safety harnesses, and were pulled to safety through a 15th- floor window, while the platform slammed against windows facing the Strip and rained broken glass onto a swimming pool area below.

Clark County Fire Department Battalion Chief Eric Poleski told the Review-Journal that he felt good about Thursday's rescue.

“It’s not human nature to lower yourself off a side of a building.”

No kidding, chief.


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