Trench Collapse Traps Worker on City of Gainesville Construction Site
Published January 14th, 2014
GAINESVILLE -- It was a desperate few minutes at a City of Gainesville construction site Monday after a worker was buried by dirt in a deep trench.
Gainesville Fire Rescue responded to the scene on Depot Avenue and Southeast Fourth Street around 4 o'clock Monday afternoon, where they found a construction worker at the bottom of a 16 foot trench that had partially collapsed.
The first responders say the worker had already been partially uncovered by his co-workers by the time they got to the scene, but still needed help uncovering his legs.
In order to save that worker's life, first responders had to risk theirs. "Anytime that you're in a trench that's unsupported, that's a dangerous situation," said Lt. Don Campbell of Gainesville Fire Rescue. "There was a danger of a secondary collapse."
The worker was eventually freed and taken to the hospital under a trauma alert. He has not been identified and his current condition is unknown.
The trench he was working on is part of the planned "Depot Park" development, in which old industrial property off Depot Avenue is being turned into a public park and stormwater treatment system.
According to their website, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration does require a "protective system" for trenches deeper than 5 feet, although the type of protection system can vary from site to site depending on the soil type.
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