NJ Workers Stuck in 122-ft Church Steeple for 3 Hours

Workers renovating a church steeple in New Jersey were rescued Thursday after being stuck above ground for three hours.

The two men were working on a restoration project for the United Methodist Church – the tallest building in Morristown – when their construction crane disabled, leaving them suspended about eight stories in the air, The Star-Ledger reported.

The bucket they were in had tipped and struck a side of the steeple, knocking the power out of the lift, Morristown Mayor Timothy Dougherty explained to reporters, preventing them from coming down.

Initial efforts to rescue the two men were unsuccessful.

Local firefighters did not have a tall enough ladder to reach the 122-feet steeple. Their fire truck’s ladder only reached 110 feet. Another ladder was called in but was still six feet short, NBC New York detailed.

The New Jersey State Police dispatched two helicopters as well if other efforts to rescue the men failed.

But Madison and Cedar Knolls firefighters, who also came to assist the men, were finally able to retrieve the workers using a Super CAG on top of a crane from Denville.

DJ Brightley of the Madison Fire Department told NBC, “All’s we did is pull up and give ‘em a taxi ride home – got ‘em outta there!”

It was the first time they put their 15-year high-angle rescue training to practice.

The pastor of the church, Neill Tolboom, was happy to see the two men safely brought down and the community working together.

“It was a scary situation,” he shared with NBC. “It was a wonderful response from our fire company and our police. I prayed throughout the whole thing, and thank goodness I could pray with the firemen and policemen, and the two that got down, when they got down safely.”

“I can’t tell you how thrilled we were with the way the community worked together in such a professional manner, and got them down safely,” Tolboom added.

The work on the steeple is put on hold for now, while workers figure out how to get the crane down first.

The two men were reported to be doing okay now. After being rescued, they were briefly checked out in an ambulance and then quickly rushed away, WIPX-TV noted.

About 100 bystanders gathered to watch the scene unfold.