Incident 54/2011

Atthe very early hour of 02.49hrs this morning we were paged by Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service Control to respond to the built up urban area of Ladywell, Eccles, Manchester, regarding the report of a male on a Tower Crane, within a development site, with the apparent intention to harm himself.

A further call out page was made at 02.54hrs whilst our Deputy Team Leader Geoff Seddon obtained more information on this incident from GMFRS Control.

Our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE was the first member of the team on scene at 03.20hrs, to be met by a GMFRS multi Pump Appliance and Aerial Platform response, attending NWAS HART vehicles and GMP multiple resources.

At an immediate briefing joint with the GMFRS Inter Liaison Officer, other Fire Officers and the Police, our Team Leader was informed that a male had climbed upto the top of aTower Crane and had then gone out onto the front boom, and was now sat at the very end of the boom.

A GMP Specialist Negotiator Team was establishing a rapport with the 31 years old man involved, and the team was requested to assist GMFRS should a rescue at height from the Tower Crane be required.

At this initial stage all the Emergency services vehicles involved had met on Eccles New Road, with the Police establishing a cordon area.

Our BM1 and BM3 vehicles and crews arrived jointly on scene at 03.31hrs, with our third responding vehicle arriving on scene at 03.39hrs.

All the Emergency Services vehicles then relocated to the West One retail Park area of Ladywell, Eccles, where further likely responses to this incident were discussed and prepared for.

Just after 05.00hrs, with ourselves, GMFRS and NWAS HART personal all on hold, and ready to react to a rescue scenario, and the GMP Specialist Negotiator Teamcontinuing totalk to the man who was still on the end of the tower crane boom, new information became known that the intentions of the male involved were apparently linked to making a protest.

Our Team Leader, Deputy Team Leader, Fire Officers and the Police Officer in charge, were then allowed to go to the base of the Tower Crane and directly liaise with the negotiating team, with the outcome being that two GMFRS appropriately trained Fire Fighters ascended the crane with a drink for the man, who still maintained his precarious position on the extreme end of the boom.

A joint team of GMFRS, Bolton MRT and NWAS HART personal remained on immediate standby very close by should a rescue at height be required.

The two Fire Fighters in agreement with the negotiating team then descended the crane, and all involved remained on standby.

By 06.00hrs local roads in the area, a large section of the major route way of Eccles New Road, and the Metrolink Tramway system had been closed, with a large Police cordon now in operation. At 06.45hrs the man on the crane, informed the negotiators he was going to stand up from his precarious sitting position on the end of the tower crane boom, and walk back to the relative safety of the middle of the crane (Where the crane operator cab is usually sited)

This he did without incident, and continued a dialogue with the GMP Negotiators who were on the ground nearby.

As the morning wore on, all involved played out a careful waiting scenario, as considerable traffic congestion and disruption to this very built up area continued, including all works on the large development site around the crane continuing to be suspended.

Around 10.00hrs, the weather started to deteriorate, and by agreement, sandwiches were sent up the crane to the man, again by GMFRS Fire Fighters, as their colleagues, Bolton MRT members and the NWAS HART team maintained their standby.

With a cold wind developing and the onset of heavy rainfall at 10.47hrs the man involved agreed to come down from the Tower Crane, and descended to be met by GMP Officers and to be assessed by NWAS HART Team members.

At 11.00hrs with the man now in Police custody, all the emergency services on standby were stood down, and very quickly the cordon was lifted, roads reopened and the area returned to normality.

The following resources were known to have been deployed to this incident. Please note this list may not be complete.

  • Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service ; Pump Appliances from local Fire Stations including Eccles and Salford, and an Aerial Platform. One Inter Agency Liaison Officer and a Watch Manager in charge.
  • Greater Manchester Police ; Major Divisional resources, and PCSOs, GMP Specialist Negotiator Team.
  • Salvation Army Mobile Catering Unit with two crew (Webmaster ; thanks for the welcome catering)
  • North West Ambulance Service HART Team from Trafford Park, Manchester, with an early morning shift changeover, six members each duty shift.
  • Metrolink Liaison Officer.
  • Bolton Mountain Rescue Team ; 17x Team Call Out list members, (Including five fully rigged to ascend the tower crane and a further four members fully rigged to support the ’first team.’) Four Land Rover Defender Mountain Rescue Ambulances.

This incident represented a multi agency approach to potentially a difficult rescue situation, which thankfully was not ultimately required.

All the Emergency Services involved worked in total harmony with each other and in mutual recognition of how each agency could bring their specialism’s and equipment to effect a successful conclusion should a rescue at height have been required.