Saving Our Lady of Lourdes
TIMELINE OF HOW A SCAFFOLD COMPANY SAVED AN ICON – in less than 24 hours!
At 1:51 pm on Wednesday 8/23/11 an earthquake of 5.8 magnitude rocked the east coast. It was followed by two smaller aftershocks of 2.8 & 2.2. On the whole, structural damage was fairly limited – given the wide scope of the quake.
Immediately, inspectors were sent out to every scaffold job site to make sure nothing had shifted, moved, or changed with the scaffolding around any of the structures. As the world found out – there were a few national structures that were damaged, such as the Washington Monument and the National Cathedral. But up in Camden, NJ a national treasure was teetering on the brink of disaster.
The statue on top of Our Lady of Lourdes Medical center had shifted and broken. The big fear was that an aftershock would topple the statue of Mother Mary – not only breaking the iconic figure but endangering patrons at the medical center. The call went out to Superior Scaffold’s emergency services unit.
Timeline for a rescue:
7:30am – Superior received the call the morning after the quake.
8:30 am – Superior was on site assessing the damage up on the roof. A material list was sent out, as well as calls to team members who assist in erecting the scaffolding on top of the roof. A truck was loaded at the yard and sent to Camden.
11:00 am – The equipment truck as well as 6 team members arrives. A plan was in place to get the scaffolding to the roof – not an easy task (which I will detail in another blog about access). Crews would have to use freight elevators to the highest point and then all of the necessary equipment would have to be taken up several staircases that wind up through the hospital to the second roof.
Once to the lower roof, a stockpile scaffolding to be used up on the next level was made. Portions of the scaffolding were actually assembled in the very small second roof and then handed up to the top section. Crew members had to climb through several more narrow areas of the hospital just to reach the statue on the roof. Once there, a rope and wheel hoist were used to get the scaffolding up to the statue where it could be put into place.
The superior team worked until the wee hours erecting the scaffolding and securing the iconic statue to make sure no further damage could be done should there be more aftershocks. Guy-wires were strapped all around the statue and tied down to make sure she couldn’t and wouldn’t topple over.
3:00 am – Less than 24 hours after receiving the emergency call Superior’s team finished the job.
In the oncoming months, restoration crews will come in and repair the damage that was done.
Even though the images of the guy-wires strapping her down are intense – the statue of the Mother Mary on top of Our Lady of Lourdes Medical center is safe and secure.
Hospital administrators could now rest safely, knowing that one call to Superior scaffold saved an icon. (Our Lady of Lourdes)