'Hero' crane driver describes dramatic rescue of construction worker from burning building

A heroic crane driver who rescued a construction worker from a burning building in Reading has revealed he couldn't even see the man he was saving through the smoke and flames, ITV News' Leyla Hayes reports

A crane operator has spoken for the first time about the moment he used his skills to rescue a construction worker from the top of a burning building in Reading.

Glen Edwards has been described as a hero, for using a crane to lower a cage onto the roof of the high rise block, while flames and smoke engulfed the area.

The worker was able to climb inside the cage, and was then winched to safety.

Hero crane operator Glen Edwards, exclusively told GMB about his dramatic rescue of construction workers from a burning building in Reading.

  • Glen Edwards describes how he was feeling as he attempted to rescue a construction worker form a burning building

Mr Edwards said: "My adrenalin was through the roof. But obviously I tried to stay calm.

"On the top of the job there's a camera, and you can zoom in and out, so I could see the levelling, but I couldn't see him because if the smoke and the flames.

"Every now and then I got a glimpse of him, but then the smoke came back.

"I tried to land the cage between him and the fire which I did eventually."

Two people were taken to hospital for treatment for smoke inhalation after the large fire broke out at the Station Hill development site on Thursday morning.

Glen revealed he was given some help by a banksman on the ground through a radio, with instructions on where to land the cage for the rescue.

"I had so much noise going on up there with the alarms going off," Glen told GMB presenters Susanna Reid and Richard Madeley.

"As it landed, I could just feel it on the crane, and the weightometer had gone off, and then when I landed it the wind got hold of the block, and it started to push the crane over again, though luckily it came back."

  • Watch as the dramatic rescue takes place.

Asked if he was sure the worker was onboard the cage, Glen replied: "I was 100%. I could hear what they were telling me on the radio, but I couldn't see anything."

A GoFundMe page set up to reward Glen for his heroic actions has raised more than £5,000.

Posting on the site, the appeal said: "We’ve all seen the video of the horrific fire on the high rise construction site in Reading.. and thanks to the 65-year-old crane operator who sent in the man basket & potentially saved a coworker(s) life.

"Could have been any brother (or sister) of the hook stuck up there and miraculously no serious injuries recorded.

"Buy Glen a beer as a token of gratitude."

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service and Thames Valley Police have confirmed they are working alongside the Health and Safety Executive to ascertain the cause of the blaze.

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