Firefighters respond to a man reportedly throwing objects from an elevated Freeway Billboard sign along Highway 101

East Palo Alto – California

September 3, 2019 – 1134 am – Menlo Fire Truck 2 is dispatched for a ladder request from East Palo Alto Police Department at 1895 East Bayshore and Pulgas Avenue. Upon their arrival, Captain Jason Martin reports that they have a man hanging from an elevated cat walk attached to a Freeway Billboard about twenty-five feet off the ground. Upon further investigation, the man, in his 30’s, says he was throwing things from the catwalk to “get someone’s attention” because he now wants to come down, but is feeling weak and dizzy.

Captain Martin requests Engine 2, Rescue 77 and Battalion 1 respond to assist with a ladder truck rescue operation. Truck 2 is then positioned to be used as a make-shift “crane” in-order to use the 108 foot aerial ladder to lift the man from the catwalk. The goal will be to place the man in a metal liter basket and strap him down. Firefighters first use a ground ladder to access the cat-walk so two firefighters and a police officer can approach the man who now says he is “thirsty and weak”.

When the other Fire units arrive, rescue ropes are laid out and connected to the tip of the ladder which will serve as a high point. The man is medically evaluated by firefighters. The aerial ladder is raised and extended over the man’s location and the basket is connected to the rope systems. The man is placed into the liter basket and immobilized for his safety. Fire crews on the ground take up the slack in the ropes and the liter basket lifts from the catwalk while the Truck operator then gently and carefully moves the aerial ladder over an empty parking stall so it can be swung into the best position for the man to be lowered and the placed on an ambulance gurney for transport and evaluation at the County Hospital.

Fire Chief Schapelhouman said “we occasionally have used our aerial ladders as make shift “cranes” to remove people and animals from tree’s, creek beds, culverts, bridges, roof tops or open basements under construction, usually under similar unique circumstances. I guess we can now we can add Billboards to that list. Someone suggested that the wording on the Billboard may have been what made him climb up there….who knows. The Truck crews regularly practice their rope and ladder skills, so this was just another day at the office for most of these guys. I’m glad it turned out well and was done in just under an hour before the commute started back up on Highway 101.”

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Pictured above – Menlo Park Firefighters use rope systems, a liter basket and their aerial ladder truck to remove a man complaining of weakness and dizziness on an elevated catwalk connected to a Freeway Billboard next to Highway 101 in East Palo Alto – Photo Credit Menlo Fire

Pictured above – Menlo Park Firefighters Sam Pacholuck and Erik Anenson secure a man into a liter basket who was complaining of feeling weak and dizzy, in order to remove him from an elevated catwalk 25 feet above the ground that is connected to a Freeway Billboard sign located next to Highway 101, while an East Palo Alto Police Officer looks on – Photo Credit Menlo Fire

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