Rescue drama at Wainhouse Tower... but it was just practice

IT looked as if a spectacular rescue was underway as firefighters and medics were scrambled to help two people trapped at the top of Wainhouse Tower.

But thankfully the drama, which included paramedic Andy Croxall being lowered from the parapet down the 253ft Halifax landmark with a stretcher, was all part of a mock-up.

The exercise by West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service's urban search and rescue team involved firefighters and members of the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust who are trained to deliver clinical care in challenging environments, such as incidents that require working at height.

The scenario involved the crews responding to a man and his grandchild stuck at the top of the tower.

They rescued one – a volunteer fireman – by carrying a stretcher down the narrow stairwell and the other – a dummy – was rescued using ropes down the outside of the tower, carried by the paramedic.

Andy Greenwood, a team manager, said: "It was a chance for us to practise some techniques and work on co-ordinating rescues with the ambu- lance and other emergency services."

The team, based in Cleckheaton, is one of only 20 in Britain.

Mr Greenwood said: "We cover a 70-mile radius but if there are any big situations, such as the Tube terrorist attacks in London, then we can be deployed nationally to provide help and support where we are needed."

The team is trained to deal with everything from natural events such as earthquakes, severe weather conditions like storms and floods and incidents such as gas explosions to criminal and terrorist acts which may result in structural instability or building collapse.

Wainhouse Tower opened to the public for the first time in four years in May when more than 800 people flocked to see the stunning views from the top.