News


Firefighters rescue man trapped in trench

No major injuries sustained in cave in

A worker is safe after being trapped when a trench collapsed on him Thursday afternoon.

The Livermore Pleasanton Fire Department was called to the scene on Blakemore Court at about 3:40 p.m. The worker was up to his chest when the trench walls caved in on him. By the time rescuers arrived, his coworkers had dug him out to his stomach, but were ordered out of the trench because it was unstable.

"The walls of the trench were shored up using specialized equipment carried by the fire department," Jack Neiman-Kimel, LPFD Battalion Chief, said in a news release. "This equipment kept the walls from further sloughing off allowing the victim to be removed from the trench."

The victim did not sustain any major injuries, and no firefighters were hurt in the rescue.

In all, three engines, one truck, two Rescue units, one ambulance, one battalion chief, two deputy fire chiefs and a utility unit responded to the scene.

LPFD firefighters receive annual training in confined space rescues, as required by the state. Trench rescues are cited by national organizations as one of the most dangerous rescue operations firefighters face because of the possibility of further collapse.

"Trenches at construction sites usually follow strict guidelines to make the work environment safe but can still become unstable and cave in, Neiman-Kimel said in the release. "Trenches are deeper than they are wide which is the reason the walls can cave in and injure someone inside the trench."

Comments

Posted by Ron, a resident of San Ramon
on Oct 18, 2013 at 8:42 pm

Sounds like proper shoring was not in place when the trench collapsed. From what it sounds like, the worker was up to his chest when it collapsed which means that shoring was probably required, but missing. The Fire Dept most likely will call Cal/OSHA to investigate.


Posted by Mr Cheney, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Oct 21, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Does anyone know what they were doing to be in a hole so deep?


Posted by Why dispatch so many?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 21, 2013 at 1:53 pm

"three engines, one truck, two Rescue units, one ambulance, one battalion chief, two deputy fire chiefs and a utility unit responded to the scene."


Posted by Ron, a resident of San Ramon
on Oct 21, 2013 at 4:43 pm

I would suspect a trench that deep was for a sewer lateral running from the house to the main.


Posted by Dave, a resident of San Ramon
on Oct 22, 2013 at 10:15 am

If a ditch is deeper than 5'-0", shoring is required. From the article, you cannot determine how deep the trench was or if shoring was required, since the man could have been on his knees in a 3' deep trench when it caved in. The man was lucky that his chest was not covered, since that is what generally kills, once you exhale, the dirt squeezes your body then you are not allowed to expand your chest to breathe in.
Holes of 5' and deeper are not uncommon, it could have been sewer or water or a foundation, the article is vague. In parts of Livermore, the soil is extremely unstable or "C-60" and the shoring used is different than for soil types A and B, the shoring is required to have sheets of plywood on it to hold up the unstable soil.
It is not uncommon for my company to have ditches or holes open in Livermore in excess of 5'0", we have been as deep as 12-15' on occasion.
We are very glad the worker was not killed and only sustained minor injuries!


Posted by Map, a resident of Del Prado
on Oct 22, 2013 at 10:16 am

In my days in the trenches anything over 3 feet deep had to have shoring on both sides of the trench before anybody climbed down there, hopefully they fine the contractor on this job and make him pay for that large response of manpower that showed up for the rescue, I'm tired of my tax dollars paying for other peoples stupid mistakes. Hello OSHA anybody there ??


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