On April 12th, 1999, Atlanta Firefighter, Matt Mosley goes to work like he does on any normal day. However, later that day, Mosely would receive national attention as TV audiences watched as he saves the life of a man who sat atop a crane with a burning inferno below him.
Forty-nine-year-old, Iver Sims, was trapped atop the crane while a huge fire burned at the Fulton Cotton Mills that was located some 220 feet below him.
The fire call went out later that afternoon and according to Mosley, “I remember when the call first came out. I thought that’s a lot of equipment being sent to the fire scene.” Mosley and other firefighters arrive on scene and went inside the building and started looking around when they realized that there was more to this fire than originally thought after they found fire going up through the elevator shaft. “Myself and a couple of other firefighters went up to the next floor and found nothing but black smoke. It was about that time that we could hear the building starting to collapse. By the time we got to the door, the fifth floor started coming down,” he added.
It was during that time that the fire had started to spread when Mosley heard on the radio that there was a rope rescue due to a man being stranded. “We went back toward the command post when we noticed everybody looking up. We looked up and we could see this guy walking across the crane,” stated Mosley. After looking at different scenarios on how to reach the stranded man, rescuers realized that they would need a helicopter. The fire had also caused the crane to weaken which caused it to start leaning. Several helicopters attempted to help to rescue the man but they were unsuccessful. Finally, a helicopter crew from Charlie Brown Field responded to help with the call.
Mosley was selected to help with the rescue not realizing at the beginning that he would be dangling from a rope when trying to rescue Sims. Mosley was eventually hooked up to a rope and lifted to the top of the crane. The pilot of the helicopter flew around for a minute to figure out where the wind was coming from at that time. Mosley stated that they hovered above Sims and finally went in to get him but Mosley’s back was turned around and he couldn’t get to him. However, after 3 or 4 passes, the helicopter pilot was able to get him turned so he could grab Sims. “When I got to him, I could see black footprints on the metal deck because it was so hot that his shoes were beginning to melt,” stated Mosley. Sims and Mosley were picked up and the helicopter pilots were told to take off and they were brought to the ground.
After reaching the ground, Mosley said that he was ready to go home. Unfortunately, the story had gotten lots of media attention so he had to talk to reporters. The story went national and he even received a phone call that day from then Vice President, Al Gore, congratulating him on the rescue.
Since that fateful day, Mosley continued to work with the Atlanta Fire Department until 2008 when he left to become a firefighter in Johns Creek. In 2013, Mosley left the fire department to become a realtor. As years past, Mosley realized that firefighting was still in his blood, so earlier this year, Mosley was hired by Cherokee County Fire & Emergency Services and graduated from firefighter recruit school on Saturday, November 2nd.
Plus, WXIA television is currently doing a series called “Where Are They Now” and will be featuring Matt and his story on tonight’s newscast between 5PM and 7PM. You can also view Matt's story by going to the "Video" section located on the bottom-left of this page.