High rise rescue in Sarasota, condo project not making neighbors happy

Fire department rescues construction worker in Sarasota County

SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. -- Another construction worker in Sarasota is left hanging off a scaffolding. It's the second case in less than a month.

The special operations team for the Sarasota County fire department safely made this high rise angled rescue. But there've been other incidents at this construction site.

Jean Gasemold owes his life to the safety harness he’s required to wear while on a scaffolding. “Yeah I was scared too far up,” says Jean.

The 49-year-old was stuck 10 stories up at the new 624 Palm Avenue condominium project in DT Sarasota doing stucco work when the motor malfunctioned.

Jean says, “The motor no good. I try going up the swing go down.”

“Looks Like it dropped it didn’t that’s where they were. The other motor went up unable to stop that,” says Chief Michael Regnier, Sarasota County Fire Department.

Within an hour and a half, firefighters were able to safely lower Jean to the ground. The worker didn’t get hurt but is a bit shaken.

When asked if he was ready to go back up?  “No not today,” says Jean.

The 624 Palm project recently known as Echelon across from Sarasota Bay has been plagued with problems

“These near mishaps were frightening to me,” says Lottie Varano who lives next door at the Essex House.

Lottie lists several mishaps and has photos for each one.

“The 12 2x4 with pointed nails that fell. The 4x8 sheet of plywood saw resident point to it narrowly missed her…How about the rhubarb metal fragments busted through windows shattering glass.” Lottie also has photos of cement splatter on the Essex House new pavers, walls and some owners’ cars.

Lottie took the photos of damage from construction debris to Sarasota City Commissioners.

Lottie says, “The damage is upsetting enough it’s the safety issues that were terrifying.”

Lottie says contractors trespassed into their space even after the Essex House sold them access to a 9-foot wide path.

“It’s the fault of the permitting system,” says Lottie.

The City of Sarasota’s permitting code allows zero lot line and it’s a system Lottie has asked commissioners to eliminate in residential areas

Lottie says, “As for commercial areas regulate it so it’s not a permission slip for contractors to trespass or dump.”

City officials say they spoke with the contractor BCBE and they agreed to put up a protective covering “hard shell” around the construction site to keep debris contained. The city says owners at the Essex House said no because the covering would trespass on their property.

Lottie says the contractor has agreed to repair the damage.

City officials say anyone with complaints about a construction site should report it to the city's building department so inspectors can check it out.

 

 

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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