Worker Escapes Serious Injury in Trench Collapse

Wednesday, August 08, 2007 |

On Wednesday, August 8, 2007 at 8:36 AM, 8 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 4 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 1 Heavy Rescue, 2 Urban Search and Rescue Units, 1 EMS Battalion Captain and 2 Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, a total of 63 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel under the direction of Battalion Chief Craig Yoder, responded to a Trench Rescue at 2000 South Central Avenue in South Los Angeles.

Firefighters arrived quickly to discover a 33 year-old male construction worker trapped to his thighs at a construction site trench collapse.

The man had reportedly been in a 5-foot-deep, 2-foot wide by 75-foot long trench located in an open-air 20-foot subgrade location that Firefighters surmised would become the subterranean parking lot for a massive apartment building under construction.

According to witnesses, the trapped man had been in the trench using hand-tools in the vicinity of a backhoe, when the trench walls suddenly gave way. Firefighters found the man conscious and alert but mired nearly to his pelvis under hundreds of pounds of loose soil.

With specialized resources, including two LAFD Urban Search and Rescue Teams responding, first-arriving Firefighters quickly established Incident Command and scene safety precautions for the rescue.

As trench edge protection issues and shoring elements were identified and being assembled, Firefighters began initial rescue efforts with the largely accessible man, by using hand tools to move soil in a strategic fashion.

With medical equipment, a rescue harness and other elements being readied for the possibility of an extended rescue, the first-arriving Firefighters were able to free the laborer less than 17 minutes after his ordeal began.

In good condition and complaining only of pain to his left knee, the Pacoima man was transported by LAFD ambulance to the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center.

No other injuries were reported.

Questions regarding the presence, need or injured man's use of safety equipment and approved worksite procedures remain within the purview of Cal-OSHA officials.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department


Anonymous said...

17 minutes is very impressive! The rule of thumb is one foot an hour.
Was the air knife deployed?

Chris S

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...


Thanks for the note.

Among the "specialized resources" responding as a result of proactive efforts by our Firefighter/Dispatchers were the LAFD's municipal Urban Search and Rescue teams, as well as our Heavy Rescue Unit.

In anticipation of their arrival, initial responders from our 3rd Battalion began preparing a pneumatic supply for the air knife, as well as proximity logistics for a suction truck.

Thankfully, the teamwork, training and tenacity of the assigned LAFD personnel was combined with the fortuitous circumstances of the man's entrapment, allowing for his safe removal in a far quicker time than you - or we, may have initially anticipated.

I hope this information helps.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

Brian Humphrey
Public Service Officer
Los Angeles Fire Department

Post a Comment

Comments to this blog are approved or disapproved without editing.

We seek to offer a broad cross-section of *public* thoughts that are specific to the topic at hand and genuinely polite in tone - regardless of opinion.

Kindly post your comments below.