Cumbria

Carlisle Dixons Chimney death man had climbed temporary ladders

Police tape near Dixons Chimney Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Roads near the chimney were closed when the operation got under way

A man who died after getting stuck upside down at the top of a 290ft chimney for 15 hours had climbed temporary ladders put in place for maintenance work.

The man was pronounced dead after being brought down from Carlisle's Dixons Chimney at about 16:45 GMT on Monday.

Emergency services reached him with the help of a cherry picker.

The fire chief who led the operation said it was the most complex of his 25-year career.

Carlisle City Council said the lowest point of the ladders used by the man was 15ft (4.5m) above the ground and said they were within a walled and gated compound.

A spokesperson said: "Recent works have been undertaken on the chimney building by a specialist contractor working on our behalf. The maintenance work was completed prior to the incident.

"There is no direct access to the chimney from ground level. The ladders which are currently attached to the structure are temporary and were installed by the contractor to facilitate access to complete the maintenance repairs.

"We are working with our specialist contractor to remove the ladders."

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Specialist officers from Lancashire Fire and Rescue were enlisted for the rescue effort

The man, whose identity has not been released, was in his 50s and from Carlisle.

Rescue attempts began at about 02:20 GMT but early attempts to use a helicopter to lower rescuers on to the chimney were abandoned amid fears downdraft from the aircraft would dislodge him.

Drones were then drafted in to assess his condition.

John Walkden, from Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, said firefighters could not "simply climb the ladder as the man had done".

"This was nearly 300ft in the air, with poor and unsafe access," he said.

"We had some professional steeplejacks on scene who had been there since the early hours.

"They had previously worked on the chimney and their assessment was that if anyone tried to ascend the ladder, it could effectively have dislodged the man who was trapped at the top."

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