Window Washers Say They May Sue Employer

The two window washers who were trapped on a platform during a windstorm last week quit their jobs Tuesday morning.7NEWS had the exclusive video showing their terrifying ride as the platform they were on slammed violently into the side of the Denver Place Plaza Tower.

In an interview with 7NEWS, the window washers said that they are considering filing a civil suit against their former employer.Both men say right before the accident, they radioed their direct supervisor to call 911 because it was getting too windy to wash windows but their supervisor told them that it wasn't that bad and to keep working. The window washing company, Bob Popp Building Services, said that's not true.Whatever the case, after dangling from the side of a high-rise and swinging all over the air out of control, Hector Estrada and Oscar Gonzalez are just happy to be back down on firm ground."We don't usually work in the wind, but the wind wasn't that bad that day. But all of the sudden it changed and became very windy," said Gonzalez.

"We really thought the cables would snap and the scaffold would crash down. But thank God it didn't," said Gonzalez.

"When the wind started, we tried to hold on to the cables and building, but our arms got too tired, we lost energy and it was so cold, so we let it loose," said Estrada.

For almost 15 terrifying minutes the platform swung from side to side until firefighters were able to secure the platform through a broken window, tie it to the building and help the men off the platform and into the 12th floor.

Both workers said they were scared to death and truly thought they would die.

"Yeah, the way things looked, we were thinking we were going to die right there. Falling from that high, it's very rare that you survive that fall," said Estrada.

"After the firefighters saved us, the company asked if we wanted to stay at work or go home. I said, 'Yes, I want to go home and see my family,'" said Gonzalez.

Both Gonzales and Estrada said they would go back to cleaning windows again, but only for the right price. They say the company is at fault for not adequately assessing the wind danger before the accident occurred.

"We told the supervisor over the radio before it happened to take off a window, so we could tie it off from inside. But they didn't listen to us. They said, 'Calm down. Calm down. It would be OK,'" said Gonzalez.

In a response over the phone, Bob Popp, owner of Bob Popp Building Service said, "These are false accusations. We have supervisors all over town who do the right thing. And we have confidence that the federal investigation will clear our company of any wrongdoing."

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is conducting a federal investigation to determine exactly what went wrong and who was at fault.

600450 Window Washers Say They May Sue Employer
Date: 12 December 2005

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