Firefighters Rescue Man Trapped in Pacific Palisades Trench, 2nd Victim Beyond Help

Thursday, March 14, 2013 |

PACIFIC PALISADES - Los Angeles Firefighters rescued a man buried in a dirt trench, however a second construction worker was beyond medical help on March 14, 2013.


At 1:34 p.m. firefighters quickly arrived at the 200 block of Temescal Canyon Road where they found an approximate 20' long u-shaped trench, ranging from 110" to 10' wide, and up to 15' deep. Inside the trench, one man was buried nearly up to hips, conscious but unable to escape, and another man buried up to his chest, unconscious and non-breathing. The two workers were from a privately contracted company, working for the city on a storm water project. They were excavating the ground with back-hoes.

With LAFD Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Teams and LAFD Heavy Rescue Unit proactively assigned to the initial response, Firefighter/Dispatchers also summoned large vacuum trucks from the City's Department of Public Works, Bureau of Sanitation to assist with efficient soil removal.

Safely, speedily and with well-practiced efficiency, LAFD trench rescue equipment, medical gear and personnel were relayed to the site. The dirt was promptly shored to protect both the patient and responders.

Firefighters worked to remove the trapped as rapidly as safely possible during this dangerous and delicate operation, making sure not to compromise the safety of the trapped victims or of the firefighters rescuing them. Careful attention was paid to shoring the dirt, minimizing unnecessary movement around the trench, and taking continuous precautions to ensure there was no further collapse.

Just before 3:00 p.m., the first victim a was safely rescued and transported via ground ambulance to an awaiting LAFD helicopter at Will Rogers Beach parking lot. He was then transported to UCLA hospital in serious but stable condition.

Firefighters then concentrated on an extended operation to remove the second adult male victim that remained buried to his chest, unconscious and non-breathing.

Declaring the man deceased, rescuers - still together as a team, transitioned from 'Rescue Mode' to 'Recovery Mode', beginning the dolorous recovery of the man's remains. With the continued enhanced shoring of trench walls and key safety procedures in place, firefighters commenced a precise rotation of personnel for the labor-intensive effort of exhuming the man's body.

More than nine hours after they were first summoned, a total of 90 Los Angeles Firefighters, all under the command of Battalion Chief Al Ward, removed the man from the trench in a dignified and respectful manner, placing his remains in custody of the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner.

A positive identification of the deceased, as well as the precise cause, time and manner of his death will be determined by the Coroner's Office.

Representatives from the City of Los Angeles Department of Building & Safety joined Cal/OSHA Investigators and LAPD at the scene. Also the Mayor's Crisis Response Team provided on-scene crisis intervention, and attended to urgent victim and family comfort needs.
Dispatched Units: E23 RA23 E269 T69 E263 T63 HR56 EM9 BC9 T88 UR88 T5 E205 UR5 BC4 E59 E88 BC18 E5 DC3 RA69 RA62 EM18 RA88 BC731 H5 E90 RH114 JT5 RA867 RA803 RT59 T27 E227 UR27 DT2
Submitted by Erik Scott, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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