Rescue crews free worker who fell inside empty water tower in Fox Chapel

FOX CHAPEL, Pa. — A man working on the inside of an empty water tower in Fox Chapel was rescued Monday after scaffolding he was standing on collapsed, causing him to fall 35 to 40 feet, officials said.

Chopper 11 flew over the scene on Field Club Road just before 12:45 p.m., and many firefighters and rescue crews were visible on the ground. The first calls for help came in around 12:30 p.m.

A paramedic went inside the tower to help the injured worker, who was conscious during the rescue efforts. At 2:49 p.m., the man was brought out through a narrow opening at the bottom of the tower, officials said.

The Fox Chapel Water Authority owns the tower. It stands nearly 200 feet high, but with some areas just 3 feet wide, firefighters were met with a challenge in how to get him out.

“They didn't think it would be a great idea to lift him out of the top the tank and bring him over the ladder truck,” Blawnox Fire Department Chief Joseph McBriar said.

Firefighters worked together and were eventually able to free then man by pulling him out of the bottom of the tower with a piece of equipment called an air chair.

“We harnessed him from the upper part of the tower and lowered him all the way down and used the air chair to assist in coming down as a safety precaution,” Fox Chapel Fire Department Chief Brian Zimmerman said.

Channel 11 News learned the 32-year-old victim is from Texas but works for a contractor out of Ohio. His co-workers said he planned to get married in the next few weeks.

Officials said the man was alert and conscious when he was freed from the tower, but he was flown to a hospital with injuries to his head, neck and back.

BREAKING: Chopper 11 is over a rescue operation in Fox Chapel where a man fell into a water tower. (There will be no sound on this live feed.)

Posted by WPXI-TV Pittsburgh on Monday, November 14, 2016