One World Trade Center Window Undergoes an Unplanned Alteration

A little more than a week after One World Trade Center officially opened for business, the building’s massive curtainwall had an opening of its own—albeit an unwelcome one.

Sixty-eight stories up, firefighters inside One World Trade Center cut through glass using a diamond saw Wednesday to rescue two window washers. (Photo: FDNY)

Sixty-eight stories up, firefighters inside One World Trade Center cut through glass using a diamond saw to rescue two window washers Wednesday. (Photo: FDNY)

Wednesday, two window washers found themselves 68 stories up in a scaffold that was stuck at a near-90-degree angle when its cables malfunctioned. After spending two hours dangling over Manhattan, the two men were rescued through the curtainwall.

From inside the building, firefighters on the scene cut through the glass using a diamond saw. They cut a 4-by-8-foot piece on the interior and a 2-by-8-foot piece on the exterior.

“It was just enough space to pull in the two men,” reported the FDNY.

The firefighters used safety wrap and suction cups to keep the glass from shattering.

According to multiple reports, the glass was three layers thick—the thickest lite nearly two inches—posing a unique challenge to the firefighters.

“And, of course, they were 68 stories up,” battalion chief Joseph Jardin, who oversaw the operation, told NBC New York. “That presented a little bit more of a challenge.”

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the building, is conducting a “full investigation” regarding the incident.

“Thanks to the cooperation and determination of the FDNY, PAPD, NYPD, other first responders, and the efforts of our World Trade Center Construction staff, two men are going home safely to their families tonight,” says Pat Foye, executive director of the Port Authority. “We are focused on ensuring the safest operation possible through comprehensive oversight, routine safety drills and ongoing training programs.

“We also ask our subcontractors and building managers such as The Durst Organization to adopt our commitment to the safety of their workers on the site. We will immediately begin a full investigation of today’s incident and the building maintenance units will be shut down as a precaution until the conclusion of this investigation.”

Viracon, which provided the glass for the project, declined comment.

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