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Firefighters to get to the seat of the problem at the Rocks

Published: 30th September 2011

Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) firefighters were still on standby to retrieve an outdoor cane wicker chair that has blown from a balcony and become lodged in the framework on the 20th floor of a nearby building in The Rocks.

At 3.48pm yesterday, FRNSW crews were called to the building in Harrington St at The Rocks after the chair was seen to be stuck on the 20th floor of a 40 floor building. It is believed strong gusts of wind blew the chair from the balcony of an adjacent high rise building.

Firefighters were unable to a hydraulic platform to retrieve the chair as it does not reach that height.
Also, none of the windows on any floor open.

It is believed the only option is to come down from the roof of the 40th floor building by either abseiling or using the building’s window cleaning gantry. Efforts to do either have been hampered by continued strong winds. Use of the gantry is immediately disabled when there are winds stronger than 5 knots.

Firefighters are still working with the building engineers and The Rocks police to remove the stray chair as there are concerns if it is dislodged by winds it could injure pedestrians and traffic 20 floors below.

As a result Harrington St between Essex and Grosvenor streets remains closed. Plans to remove the chair at 5am today were cancelled due to the weather and the Bureau of Meteorology has predicted that the gusts of winds may not subside until 9pm.

“We are chairing a meeting to determine how we can best furnish the firefighters to get to the seat of the problem,” said Superintendent Ian Krimmer from FRNSW.

“But we have no doubt the rescue effort will be a benchmark for us.”