(11 Alive) – At the time, Matt Moseley was a young firefighter for the City of Atlanta.
Moseley said he remembers when the call came in. What started as a routine call quickly became a nightmare.
“I remember going down the stairs. We were about a floor ahead of the collapse. I remember in my head saying, this is it. We’re done. We are not going to make it out here,” Moseley explained.
The Cotton Mill Lofts in Atlanta’s Cabbagetown was on fire. He told 11Alive’s Nick Sturdivant that it was one of the largest renovation projects in the nation.
“So, as we were walking back by the command post everybody was looking up. We thought what are they looking at? So, we walked by the command post and looked up and there’s Ivers [Simms]. Literally everyone’s jaw hit the ground,” he said.
A man was on top of a 250-foot crane as a fire below consumed the five-story building. That man was crane operator Ivers Simms.
“[I] had a rope stretched out…80 feet of rope. The captain came over and gave me a last-minute pep talk,” Moseley mentioned.
Moseley volunteered to go up in a helicopter to save Simms from the crane. The firefighter was suspended hundreds of feet in the air with one mission.
“The lord just said there you go and spun me around and I ran right into it. Grabbed the crane and climbed up on it. There were black shoe prints on the deck where Ivers shoes had melted when he was trying to get away from the heat,” he said.
“[Ivers] is the coolest cucumber I’ve ever met. Just nothing phases him. So, I said hey man your boss sent me up here he said you can knock off early. He didn’t crack a smile and he just looked at me like, really they sent a comedian up here,” Moseley explained.
They both made it down safe. However, what both didn’t expect was the media whirlwind.
“One day you’re just Joe Smoe going to the fire station and going to work and the next day it’s all this other going on,” said Moseley.
Moseley got a chance to speak with former Vice President Al Gore right after the rescue.