Dramatic footage shows moment construction worker is saved from high-rise fire in Reading as he's winched to safety

23 November 2023, 12:42 | Updated: 23 November 2023, 13:24

Trapped man rescued after fire in Reading

By Will Taylor

Dramatic footage shows the moment a construction worker is rescued from a high-rise building blaze after a fire broke out in Reading.

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A bystander caught the moment the man, dressed all in black with a hard hat, tries to grab onto a rescue cage that's been winched down from a crane as the fire rages nearby.

He leans against the edge of the tall building - some eight storeys up - as he tries to avoid the flames and smoke before finally grabbing onto the cage and locking himself inside as his worried colleagues look on.

He manages to lie down inside and is winched to safety as the fire engulfs the building.

Crowds of onlookers, many filming with their phones, applaud as he is finally hoisted off the tower.

Two people were taken to hospital to be assessed and receive treatment for smoke inhalation but neither were "severe" cases, according to South Central Ambulance Service.

"We are now on standby supporting the fire service which is a standard operational procedure when they are working at height and at scale," the service said.

The construction site caught on fire on Thursday morning, sending smoke billowing over the centre of the Berkshire town.

Firefighters rushed to the scene on Thursday morning as residents were told to avoid the area and close their windows if they live nearby.

Eyewitnesses said the blaze appeared to be at construction sites close to Reading Station, which is on the Great Western Mainline that connects London and Bristol.

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Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service said: "We are currently attending an incident on [Station Hill], Reading. Please avoid the area to allow emergency services clear access to the scene. If you live in the surrounding area, please keep windows closed and stay indoors. Further updates will be provided shortly."

In a full statement, the service said: "At 11:38am on Thursday, 23 November, we received reports of a fire near [Station Hill] in Reading.

"A number of our crews are currently on the scene. While emergency services work, we ask that people avoid the area where possible and close windows and doors if you live or work nearby.

"Thank you for your patience while we deal with this incident. Updates will continue to be provided through our website incident feed."

Redwood Consulting, a PR group, said on behalf of the Station Hill development project: "We activated our fire emergency plans immediately, the emergency services were notified and are currently on site.

"The safety of those on site and the wider public is always our first priority, and the site has been evacuated as a result. As soon as we have more information we will provide an update."

Workers at nearby Thames Tower were evacuated just before midday.

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