FDNY rescues worker buried up to waist in trench in Williamsburg

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Tuesday, July 18, 2023
FDNY rescues worker buried up to waist in Brooklyn trench
Emergency workers in Brooklyn worked for an hour on Tuesday morning to rescue a man who got buried up to his waist in a trench collapse. NJ Burkett reports.

WILLIAMSBURG, Brooklyn (WABC) -- Emergency workers in Brooklyn worked for nearly an hour on Tuesday morning to rescue a man who got buried up to his waist in a trench collapse.

It happened around 9:44 a.m. on Flushing Avenue in Williamsburg.

The man, a plumber, became trapped while working on the excavation phase of a 6-story new building project. New York City Department of Buildings says that the man was excavating 8 feet of soil to gain access to a foundation wall to install piping when the soil collapsed and pinned him against the wall from the waist down.

"He was working on the foundation of the building and some of the dirt collapsed and trapped him up to this waist," said Battalion Chief John Sarrocco, FDNY. "At that point, we have a technical response, which is our rescue units and EMS Special Operations Medics responding. We supported the trench with some wood cribbing, tied the victim off with a harness from a high-point anchor, and we started to work on extricating him from the hole. We called in our counterparts with ConEd with their vacuum truck to vacuum some of the dirt around the victim. We also sent a rescue medic into the trench to offer critical care that the victim needed."

Sixty firefighters responded to the scene and after about 45 minutes, they had uncovered the man to just above his knees.

"We sent one of our rescue officers into the hole to begin assessing and treating the person. It took about 45 minutes to remove him from the hole. He has serious but non-life-threatening injuries and he was taken to a trauma center," said EMS Division Chief Mark Bonilla.

The victim stayed conscious as crews worked to dig him out the rest of the way.

He was rushed to Bellevue Hospital in stable condition.

DOB has issued a partial stop work order at the site as a result of the collapse.

DOB also issued summonses to the general contractor for, supported pipe scaffolding not maintained per code, failure to obtain an electrical permit for temporary electrical work, failure to notify for Earthwork operation. The department inspectors also issued an additional summons to the plumbing sub contractor for failure to provide protection for the excavation operation.

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