Reading Fire LIVE updates: Worker rescued by crane as firefighters battle raging inferno at high-rise development building
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Crane worker who lifted man from burning building says rescue was a ‘close call’

Two men were rescued by crane and taken to hospital for treatment for smoke inhalation after the large fire broke out at the Station Hill development site in Reading this morning.

Footage showed the moment Glen Edwards used the winch he was operating to move a cage towards a workman trapped on the building surrounded by flames and thick smoke.

Crowds below broke out in applause as the man was lifted in the air.

Mr Edwards, 65, from Egham, Surrey, said: ‘I was no more than 20 metres up in the air and I looked out my left-hand window and saw a guy standing on the corner of the building.

‘I’d only just seen him and someone said “can you get the cage on”, so that was it, I got the cage on and got it over to him the best I could. It was quite windy conditions.’

He went on: ‘I would say it was a very close call, if you look at the video at the way the wind was swirling around there.

Another man was also lifted from the building by crane, firefighters have said.

Witness tells of ‘hysteria’ on the streets as flames erupted

Luke Edgecombe, who works in a building 500 meters from the site of the fire, told the MailOnline about the ‘mass hysteria’ on the streets when the flames became visible.

The 29-year-old said: ‘There were large amounts of crowds. There was quite a lot of hysteria. I guess people were interested. It’s not something you often see, a large building on fire.

‘There were lots of people with their phones out and lots of rumours probably being spoken about how it started. It’s something that’s completely abnormal and shouldn’t be happening.’

Smoke rises as a fire breaks out in a building in Reading, Britain, November 23, 2023, in this screen grab obtained from a social media video. Tom Canning/via REUTERS  THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.

Pictured: Emergency workers swarm the scene

Reading fire
Reading fire

Nearby café evacuated customers amid fire

Peter, who runs a local café, said the fire was ‘really quite dramatic – thick billowing smoke and lots of flames’.

‘We immediately got rid of all our customers – that’s all we could think to do,’ he said.

Witness saw ‘black cloud and a ball of flames’

Steve Reynolds, who works in a building 100 yards opposite where the fire started, told the BBC: ‘I saw a black cloud go up and a ball of flames happen and all of a sudden I could see there was a guy trapped on the corner.

‘There were bits of glass falling off the side of the building and he was completely exposed up there.

‘Then all of a sudden a crane came out from the left with a carriage on it and they lowered it down… and he gets in and they pull him away.

‘There was a massive cheer from all the workers on the ground. It was pretty terrifying.’

Carpenter who witnessed rescue of workman says crane arrived ‘just in time’

A carpenter, who was working nearby, said onlookers below applauded as the man clambered into a metal basket attached to the crane and was carried away from the flames.

The witness, who did not want to be named, said: ‘I was in the next door building, there was a guy standing up there (on top of the building), luckily the crane came in just in time.

‘He was coughing [when he came down], from the smoke, you know what I mean.

‘When he got inside the crane and the crane put him down everyone was clapping.

‘The crane driver was very fast. He was still in the crane while the building was on fire.’

Grabs for Reading fire

Police officer ran into the building shouting ‘is anyone there’

A Thames Valley Police officer said he was the first to call the fire in, and watched the man get rescued.

The policeman said: ‘I was the first person to call it in, and I saw a man getting rescued.

‘He’s in hospital now. He lobbed himself in the cage.

‘I ran in the building and shouted is anyone in there. I don’t think there were loads of people, only a couple of people working on the roof.’

Ambulance Service issues statement

A South Central Ambulance Service spokesperson said: ‘I can confirm we’ve taken two people to the Royal Berkshire Hospital for further assessment and treatment for smoke inhalation, neither of whom were severe cases.’

Map shows location of shocking Reading fire

Crane worker who rescued man admits it was a ‘close call’

A crane worker who rescued a man from a burning high-rise in Reading has said it was a ‘close call’.

Glen Edwards, 65, from Egham, Surrey, said: ‘I was no more than 20 metres up in the air and I looked out my left-hand window and saw a guy standing on the corner of the building.

‘I’d only just seen him and someone said ‘can you get the cage on’, so that was it, I got the cage on and got it over to him the best I could. It was quite windy conditions.’

He added: ‘I would say it was a very close call, if you look at the video at the way the wind was swirling around there.

‘I tried to put the cage down between him and the flames, but I was hampered by the wind swirling around there.

‘But I got the cage down and I managed to get him in there.’

Two people were rescued from blaze by a crane

Christopher Hutton, of the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: ‘Just after half 11 today, we received reports of a fire on Station Hill in Reading.

‘At its peak, over 50 firefighters were on the scene from fire stations across the county.

‘Crews found the fire in a high-rise building under construction.

‘Firefighters equipped with breathing apparatus used two main jets to extinguish the fire.

‘We understand that two people were rescued by a crane and have been placed in the care of South Central Ambulance Service and fortunately, all other people were accounted for.

‘The fire has now been extinguished and we have scaled back our resources at the incident, but a number of crews will remain at the scene at this time to dampen down.’

Grabs for Reading fire

Warped glass and scorched windows left behind

A witness said they saw the large glass panes of windows on the high-rise melting after the fire.

Warped glass and scorched windows can be seen on the side of the building and parts of the roof appear to have bent.

Natalia Nobel, from Oregon in the United States, is currently living in Reading with her husband in a home overlooking the high-rise.

She said: ‘I was with my husband, we did see some smoke and it looked like the windows were melting.’

The scene at the Station Hill development site in Reading where a fire broke out trapping a workman on the roof. Two people were taken to hospital for treatment for smoke inhalation. Picture date: Thursday November 23, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story FIRE Reading. Photo credit should read: Lucy North/PA Wire

Hero who rescued workman from fire speaks out

Heroic crane operator Glen Edwards said today: ‘I saw someone waving his coat. I knew the person was at that level. But the wind was blowing the cage about.

‘I was just waiting for the smoke to clear. I could see I was putting it down in the flames. The banksman (supervisor) told me when he was in’.

He told Berkshire Live how he winched the workman to safety at top speed as the blaze continued to roar, passing his cargo through the thick black smoke that was spreading throughout the town.

Glen Edwards said he was the man operating the crane during the rescue effort

A workman was stranded at the top of the One Station Hill development when it caught fire – but was rescued by a hero crane driver.

The modest crane driver who saved the workman from the roof of the burning £750million Reading development today played down his Hollywood-style rescue – but admitted: ‘It has not been your average day at work’.

Footage of Glen Edwards moving a cage through smoke and flame to save his unnamed colleague revealed his skills as an operator – and just how close to death the man he saved could have been.

Mr Edwards has revealed he saw the workman because he was waving his coat – begging for help as the blaze surrounded him.

Under huge pressure, Mr Edwards then managed to expertly drop a cabin on to the top of the office developmen as the building was engulfed in flames.

There were huge cheers from the ground as the man jumped into the cage and was winched down to safety.

What is the building at the centre of the blaze?

The One Station Hill Complex was a landmark building that was due to open next year containing 15 floors of workspace and a fitness club.

This is not the first time the landmark building has caught fire, as it was the centre of a blaze in July last year. On that day, large plums of smoke were also seen flying into the air. All people at the site were accounted for and nobody was thought to have been harmed.

Office workers at Thames Tower, which is very close to the construction site on fire today, saw the flames first hand and were asked to evacuated around 11.40am.

Handout video grab taken with permission from the X feed of Chris Lauder of a workman who was trapped on a roof being lifted to safety by a crane after a fire at a high-rise building in Reading. Issue date: Thursday November 23, 2023. PA Photo. Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service said it received reports of the blaze near Napier Road at 11.38am on Thursday. See PA story FIRE Reading. Photo credit should read: Chris Lauder/X/PA WireNOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

Statement issued on behalf of Station Hill

Redwood Consulting, on behalf of Station Hill, said: ‘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.’

Handout video grab taken with permission from the X feed of Chris Lauder of a workman who was trapped on a roof being lifted to safety by a crane after a fire at a high-rise building in Reading. Issue date: Thursday November 23, 2023. PA Photo. Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service said it received reports of the blaze near Napier Road at 11.38am on Thursday. See PA story FIRE Reading. Photo credit should read: Chris Lauder/X/PA WireNOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

Reading fire: MailOnline will give you the latest updates

An inerno broke out earlier at a high-rise building in Reading with a man stranded at the top of the One Station Hill development when it caught fire.

The blaze broke out at 11.38am today near the town train station.

Follow MailOnline’s live blog for the latest updates.





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