Bay Area window washer fights for life after 11-story fall

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SAN FRANCISCO — A 58-year-old window washer who fell 11 stories from a building onto a moving car is "fighting for his life" and opens his eyes when relatives speak to him, his family said.

The man's name and hometown have not been released.

San Francisco General Hospital released a statement from his family, who asked to not be identified.

"We are amazed that he fell from such a high distance and still survived. Landing on the car really helped, and we are so thankful for that," the statement said.

Police said the man was moving equipment on the roof of a bank building in San Francisco's financial district and not on a window-washing platform when he fell at 10 a.m. Friday.

"He is a stubborn, strong man, and he is fighting for his life. He has had several surgeries and is still in critical condition, but doing a little better," the statement says. "We would also like to thank San Francisco General Hospital and all the doctors that never left his side. They have exceeded anything we could have hoped for him."

In the statement, the family thanked a nurse and firefighters who helped him.

"This is a hard time for our family, and we ask for privacy. We appreciate everyone's concern and hope to give another update when he is doing better," the statement said.

The man, who has a wife and three daughters, remains in critical condition but is doing better than doctors expected, according to the statement.

Many came forward to help the man when he fell. But it was not clear Friday if people are coming forward with cash donations or if a bank account has been set up to help his family. Hospital spokeswoman Rachael Kagan said she was not aware of such an account.

No one else was injured, including the driver of the car the man fell on.

The man was working for Concord, California-based Century Window Cleaning, said Peter Melton, a spokesman for the California state Division of Occupational Safety and Health. A company official declined comment Tuesday.

The company was cited for one serious violation and three other violations in 2008, one of them related to instructing window-cleaning employees in the proper use of all equipment provided to them, and supervising the use of the equipment and safety devices to insure that safe working practices are observed, according to federal records. The company was fined more than $6,500, though the fine was eventually reduced to about $2,700.

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