An allegedly intoxicated tree trimmer dangled 40 feet off the ground for nearly two hours Monday evening before rescuers were able to get him down from of a Eucalyptus tree in a heavily wooded, residential area of Brentwood.
"We were concerned about his condition because he seemed lethargic and once we got him down, we found that he had consumed a significant amount of alcohol from a bottle of tequila that he had in his work belt with him," said Battalion Chief Brian Schultz with City of Los Angeles Fire Department.
The worker, whose name was not released, was taken to the hospital to be evaluated for possible trauma, Schultz said. The man’s condition was not known late Monday.
It also wasn’t clear how the man, who had been hired as part of a crew to trim trees on the property, managed to get stuck in the tree long after his colleagues had left for the day.
Local news from across Southern California
About an hour after the crew packed up and left, the homeowner’s gardener noticed there was someone in their Eucalyptus tree.
"So we surmised that the rest of the crew left and he either was on the ground and decided to ascend back up into the tree by himself – given his state, that’s a possibility – or it’s possible that he was up in the tree and he wouldn’t come down and the rest of the crew left," Schultz said. "We really don’t know at this point."
Rescue crews made "a couple of unsuccessful first tries" to get a ladder into the tree, which was surrounded by heavy brush and on an incline, Schultz said.
When they finally made it to the man, they discovered he’d been hanging by a harness that had slipped from around his waist to underneath his arms. The worker was wearing climbing spikes but, hanging by his chest, was unable to get his footing, Schultz said.
They also found a half-full bottle of Camarena Tequila tucked into the man's work belt. Schultz said the tree trimmer appeared to be intoxicated and was telling crews that he was tired.
Firefighters received the call about 5:45 p.m that someone was stuck in a tree in the 11800 block of West Kearsarge Street. By 7:45 p.m., the man had been safely taken down.
Thirty-two firefighters responded to the scene and used ropes, a harness and 35-foot ladders to rescue the tree trimmer, according to Erik Scott with LAFD.