Window Washer Lives to Tell About Six-Story Fall - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Window Washer Lives to Tell About Six-Story Fall


Eau Claire (WQOW) - "It's still really hard to imagine that I'm even sitting here."

Those words Wednesday were from a window washer who fell six stories from an Eau Claire bank building Tuesday afternoon.  

Not only did Alex Clay of Chippewa Falls survive the fall, he only received injuries to his left leg.   On Tuesday he was more than willing to share his story, despite the fact he is still in hospital. 

Alex was in good spirits when News 18 talked to him but he says on Tuesday, he went through a roller coaster of emotions.

"I went over the edge and I realized I hadn't, the clip for the descending canister wasn't clipped to my belt. So, I just tried not to panic," says Clay.

He was getting ready to clean his last 12 windows, six stories up at the U.S. Bank building in downtown Eau Claire Tuesday when he realized he was in trouble.  

"I knew I was eventually going to have to let go, which was a really scary thought. But, I knew in the back of my mind that, you know, I had the safety line connected to my back.  So, I figured okay worse case scenario I have to hang there until the fire department gets there," he adds.

Alex says he tried to hang on while his co-worker tried to attach the clip to his harness.

"I made a really hard decision and not really a decision I wanted to make, but I let go. I kept falling expecting the safety line to catch on the rope, and it never caught, it never caught, it never caught," he says.
Several thoughts rushed through Alex's mind as he made his descent.   

"On the way down I just was thinking, 'What if this is it? What if I'm dead? And even if I don't die, what problems am I going to have?'," he adds. 

Eventually Alex did make contact with the sidewalk below all the while still conscious.   

" I was just in shock, and I just kept asking myself, 'Why, you know the safety line, why didn't the safety line catch?'  It didn't make sense," Alex says.

Paramedics were at Alex's side within seconds of the fall and rushed him to Luther Hospital.  

"With the first report we had that somebody had fallen from six floors up, you know, we were not anticipating somebody to come in who is talking and that sort of thing. He had a guardian angel," says Dr. Brad Grewe, Alex's doctor at Luther Hospital. 

Doctors are saying the safety harness probably helped lessen his injuries.

"I think that given the fact that he started his fall from six floors up one wouldn't expect that he'd be doing this well.  Most people would probably die from something like that," adds Dr. Grewe.
Alex believes there's another reason why he's alive today.

"God, a miracle, luck--all that," he concludes.  


A man fell from one of the tallest buildings in the Chippewa Valley and survived.  

Police say 21-year-old Alex Clay fell from the US Bank building on South Barstow Tuesday afternoon.   Rescue crews say he was washing windows when there was some kind of malfunction with his harness.  

Alex fell six stories to the sidewalk below.   Crews say he was conscious when they arrived.   They took him to Luther Hospital.   Police say Alex broke his foot and suffered some bruises.   He works for Bob Smith Window Cleaning.

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