When an uncommon and unwelcome tornado ripped through Salt Lake City in mid-August, it turned the unsuspecting community upside down in a fury of uprooted trees, shattered windows and flying debris.
The Delta Center, home of the NBA's Utah Jazz, seemed to be the tornado's main target as the black funnel peeled off the roof and sent glass shards flying. Concerned about the dangerous debris left behind, Delta Center officials initiated cleanup the minute the dust settled. Its general contractor, Sahara Construction, quickly called on JLG Industries' locally based distributor ICM Equipment Co., and in less than 24 hours, four telescopic boomlifts and a scissorlift were on the job helping workers clear glass and make repairs.
Packing winds of more than 110 mph, the tornado tore through the city scheduled to host the 2002 Winter Olympics, spewing rocks, cinder blocks and other flying objects. The Delta Center's gleaming west windows never stood a chance.
"We worked through the night coordinating delivery of the lifts, getting them on-site for cleanup as quickly as possible," says ICM's rental co-ordinator Mark McKean. "The city sustained enough injuries from the tornado. We didn't want it to suffer any more from a dangerous structure left behind."
Using two 110-foot booms and two telescopic 60-foot booms, glaziers began removing broken glass from the battered window frames. The stability of the platforms allowed them safe access to the jagged glass while maneuvering amid the debris-strewn terrain below.
Using each lift's 500-pound unrestricted platform capacity, glaziers carefully placed the broken bits of glass in containers on the work platform and then lowered them safely to the ground for disposal. All of the telescopic boomlift models used by the Delta Center glaziers can be moved forward or backward and steered in any direction from the work platform while the boom is extended - a feature that means efficiency as well as safety.
Inside the center, a 19-foot electric scissorlift went to work on the sixth floor, where winds had whipped through the acoustical ceiling, tossing lighting fixtures in every direction. From within a 31-by-64-inch platform atop the lift's scissor arms, an operator safely removed damaged portions of the ceiling, preparing for repair.
"The tornado stunned everyone," McKean says. "With all these mountains around, no one expected to one day tell tales of huge rocks being tossed about and large pieces of lumber lodging in walls."
Storm cleanup would have been a much more difficult task without the benefit of aerial work platforms. "Safety is always our top priority, and we're proud that JLG could be a small part of the Salt Lake City disaster cleanup effort," says Dan Sandonato, JLG's vice president of marketing.