Firefighters lower man from Fred Meyer rooftop

Firefighters assisted police in lowering a man from the roof of the Fred Meyer retail store and supermarket at 800 Lakeway Drive late Sunday, Aug. 21.

“It was a neat bit of rope work,” said Bellingham police Sgt. Mike Scanlon.

Scanlon said the man “shimmied up a drainpipe” to reach the roof, then sprawled in a stupor across a vent. Police officers climbed to the roof on a ladder and found the man, whose name was not made public because he was not arrested or cited for a crime.

“He was still actively drinking from a fifth of whiskey,” Scanlon said. He said the man was “somewhat combative” and refused to descend from the roof when officers intervened about 10:20 p.m. Authorities decided the man should be taken into protective custody for his well-being, Scanlon said.

Firefighters trained in rope rescue used an aerial ladder truck to bring the man to the ground, where he was taken by ambulance to St. Joseph hospital for evaluation, Scanlon said.

Bellingham Fire Assistant Chief Bill Hewett said the crew of Ladder 6 secured the man to a Stokes basket and lowered him using a technique called a “ladder pick.”

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty