1 WTC window washer says he’d return to the job

A worker, right, snaps a cell phone photo after replacing a window at 1 World Trade, Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014, in New York, the day after two window washers were rescued from a dangling scaffold by firefighters who cut through the pane to reach them. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

NEW YORK (AP) — One of the World Trade Center window washers left dangling for more than an hour from the nation’s highest building said Friday he’s willing to go back to the job. But the other said working on the ground might be better.

Juan Lizama and Juan Lopez spoke at a press conference about their harrowing rescue from 1 World Trade Center.

“God bless America,” said Lizama, a native of El Salvador.

Lopez — who’s now contemplating less-lofty jobs — said he panicked at first. But once he saw firefighters, he knew it “was just a matter of time” before a rescue.

Asked if he looked down, Lopez said he had no choice because of the angle — but “I’m used to that view.”

On Wednesday, a cable suddenly loosened on their scaffold, plunging it into an almost vertical position outside the 104-floor tower, 68 stories above the street. During the agonizing ordeal, one man called his wife, fearing it might be his last opportunity to speak to her.

Firefighters eventually used diamond cutters to saw through a double-layered window and pull the men to safety. Lizama and Lopez were examined at a hospital and released.

The dramatic rescue came a little more than a week after the building officially opened and was followed by New Yorkers on the ground and many others watching on live TV around the world.

Officials haven’t determined what caused the cable problem, and it was unclear whether anything about the design of the 1,776-foot skyscraper complicates working on the window-washing scaffolds, which went into service in June.

Their union, Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ, said it makes sure workers follow rigorous safety protocols.

Lizama said he and Lopez have always been safety conscious and had checked their equipment.


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