December 8, 2019

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Friends, family call recovery a 'miracle'

FAMILY and friends of a window washer who fell about eight storeys from a Cambridge Street apartment say his survival is nothing short of a miracle.

Chris Piper, 27, was on a crew, washing windows at an apartment at 850 Cambridge St. on Wednesday afternoon when he plunged eight storeys, smashed through a pane of glass and landed on the floor of the lobby, said a witness.

Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press 
Outside view of an apartment block at 850 Cambridge St. where a window washer�s rope broke.

Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press Outside view of an apartment block at 850 Cambridge St. where a window washer�s rope broke.

But after being rushed to Health Sciences Centre in critical condition, Piper managed to escape the fall with no broken bones.

"Eight storeys and still alive? It's a miracle," said Cathy Piper, the man's aunt.

She said Chris had surgery to his knee and foot, but was doing well. She visited him in hospital Wednesday and he was talking.

"We love him and he's just our miracle," she said. "We're all just wishing the best for him."

The Winnipeg Police Service and Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health are investigating the incident.

Chris Piper was between the apartment building's seventh and eighth storeys when a rope broke and he fell, hitting the top of a glass solarium on the building's ground floor.

Patricia St. Godard, of Class A Service, said the man was working with his uncle, an experienced window washer with 15 years with the company, when the fall happened.

"It's a terrible day, but we're very grateful," she said. "This could have been such a much worse day.

"This day, we're only worrying about a knee surgery... I can't begin to tell you how wonderful that makes us feel."

Chris had a safety net and safety harness, she said.

She said he'd worked for the company for three years.

"He did everything that he could have done, but accidents happen, and that's why we have Workplace Safety and Health," Godard said.

She said people at the company were shaken by what happened.

She said the business was in its 25th year, and nothing like this had happened before.

"We've never had anybody fall," she said.

Chris Piper sent a statement through the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority on Thursday saying he was in "good spirits," and offering thanks to people for their concern.

gabrielle.giroday@freepress.mb.ca

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