TORONTO — A young woman who climbed a construction crane near Toronto’s waterfront before being helped down by authorities was charged Thursday after police said she damaged the towering piece of machinery, leaving it inoperable.
The incident, which saw police and firefighters conduct about an hour of negotiations with the woman before she descended, took place at a condo construction site west of the downtown core.
Firefighters said they received a call just after 6:30 a.m. about the woman in the operator booth at the top of the crane but it wasn’t immediately clear how long she had been there.
“Crews made their way up there,” said Toronto Fire District Chief William Bygrave. “They discussed with her what her state of mind was … and if she could comply with their orders to get her down safely.”
After making sure the woman could descend without issues, crews escorted her down the ladder of the crane and then down several flights of stairs to a waiting ambulance, Bygrave said.
Police said Thursday evening that Lindsey Flockhart, 34, was charged with mischief damaging property exceeding $5,000, mischief obstructing property exceeding $5,000 and failing to comply with a probation order. She was set to appear in court on Friday.
“There is no indication of why or how she did this,” Bygrave said earlier in the day, noting that the woman was found without a harness or other safety equipment. The boom of the crane partially hangs over a busy downtown highway and is about 43 metres or 10 storeys high, Bygrave said.
Ian Peters, who is part of the Toronto fire department’s emergency response team, was at the base of the crane as the woman climbed down. He said she would have had to climb stairs to the top of the nine-storey building where the crane is located, then scale a ladder to the control booth atop the piece of machinery.
“We don’t know for sure how she got on the construction site, but she managed to find her way up there,” Peters said.
The incident follows another high-profile crane incident in April 2017, when a 23-year-old woman was stranded for hours after climbing a crane at a downtown construction site. She was rescued by a firefighter who climbed up and rappelled down with her.
Marisa Lazo pleaded guilty to two counts of mischief, but received an absolute discharge in January and was ordered to pay a victim surcharge.