Thursday, April 27, 2017

All In A Day's Work

"She has to tell me how she did it because she’s gotta be our new training officer for high angle, because it’s impressive. It was hard enough for me to go up with ropes and the harnesses, and she free-climbed that. It’s incredible."
"Yeah, I was voluntold -- ‘You’re going up. I’ve been on (the job) 22 years, so I do a lot of rope work with trees and so, yeah, I’m a bit of a monkey."

"She said, 'I just want to get down'. She was great. She was a brave girl, she helped me when I got there."
"You don’t want to bring up why they’re there. Let’s make light of it, talk about the view. It was beautiful. We both wished we had cameras."
"I have a tree job to do tomorrow and it’s not going to be nearly as high as that. It’s gonna be like climbing a bush, right?"
Toronto firefighter Rob Wonfor
A woman is rescued from a downtown Toronto crane early Wednesday, April 26, 2017. Some streets in the downtown core were closed as dozens of construction workers and commuters gazed skyward to watch police and firefighters try to rescue a woman who got stuck atop a tall construction crane during the night. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
An old childhood friend of 23-year-old Marisa Lazo who evidently on a whim startled Toronto by climbing up a construction crane on Wednesday morning, to jauntily seat herself above a construction pit with rebar waiting below to impale anyone who had the great misfortune to fall, before Toronto firefighter Rob Wonfor rescued the woman, explained she was 'normal', she just enjoyed climbing. Speaking after the successful rescue, the firefighter had nothing but admiration for the young woman's calm demeanor, let alone the strength, agility and skill that allowed her to make that climb.

The young woman had been dressed for the street, in heeled black boots, no climbing gear, no gloves to protect her hands, just tight jeans and a denim jean jacket. It was theorized, before she had been closely questioned, that she had climbed the 50 metres to gain the top of the crane, where she slid down 14 metres on a greasy cable that led to the crane's hook. Across that hook was a bit of a plank and Marisa Lazo must have thought the plank would make a fine resting place. It's where she perched herself, awaiting notice.

If public notice for her stunt was her aim, she wasn't disappointed. Rush-hour traffic was snarled in the downtown and onlookers crowded below to watch in disbelief the drama that unfolding above. All together, she spent three hours perched on that bit of wood over the hook of the construction crane. And when firefighter Wonfor managed to reach her, she calmed him down by her quiet voice and calm exterior. He tried to be casual, not to focus on their shared existential dilemma. So he shouted out to her from the crane to where she sat on the wires-hung hook that he had a hockey game at 8:15 a.m.
Tyler Anderson/NPTyler Anderson/NP

His plan was to climb to the top of the crane, and from there rappel down to where she sat. He had a harness with him which he planned to outfit her with. And when that was all set they would both be lowered mechanically to ground level. "It might be a bit longer", for the process to be completed, he informed her. "Did it take you this long? Because if you have any speed tips, I'll take them right now", he said to her. When he did reach her, he quickly determined she wasn't suicidal: "there was no way" she planned to jump, he concluded. "She was too calm."

What she imparted to him was her concern that she was in for legal trouble. "I'm gonna get a big fine for this". In fact, once they were down on terra firma she was arrested, charged with public mischief and taken off to hospital for a physical examination. Before that, when he had reached the young woman on her metre-long plank over the hook, she helped him to outfit her into the rescue harness. "She had some experience (with climbing gear)", he later observed.

Once that was done, rescuer and rescuee hugged one another while the crew in the construction crane's operation booth lowered them to ground level gradually. That was 8:30 a.m. And the firefighter missed his hockey game, but hurried on to be in time for the next one, he was anxious to play in. This fellow is super-charged, at age 52. A serendipitous match for the strength and endurance of the woman he rescued, facing six counts of mischief.

Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press
A woman is rescued from a downtown Toronto construction crane on Wednesday, April 26,2017...Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

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