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Worker Nearly Buried In Shadyside Trench

Responders from the OR&W Fire District rescued a man from a potentially deadly situation Wednesday afternoon.

“We had a worker who was digging a trench and the trench fell in on him,” Fire Chief Dave Lenz said. “They were digging for a sewer line, the contractor. He was buried up to about his stomach.”

Lenz did not know the name of the contractor performing the work. He said the project was taking place in the 4400 block of Grand Avenue in Shadyside.

“He was unable to get out. We responded, and we were able to dig him out. He did sustain some injuries, not serious injuries, but he was transported to (WVU Medicine) Reynolds (Memorial) Hospital (in Gen Dale), very fortunate,” Lenz said. “The trench was probably 8 feet deep, and they didn’t have any kind of shoring or anything to hold the walls of the trench and it collapsed on him.”

Lenz said the rescue effort called for caution among responders.

“The trench rescue unit, you can’t put too many people in the hole because you don’t want the sides to collapse more, so we sent two of our personnel down and very carefully used shovels to dig around. He was really unable to help us,” he said. “It probably took 15, 20 minutes of solid digging.”

He said the contractor suspended work for the day.

“I’m not sure what’s going to happen there as far as an investigation,” Lenz said. “It’s up to (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) or (Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation) to decide if they’re going to investigate. … We told them when we left, ‘You can’t go back down there without some kind of shoring or something.’ That was very close to losing somebody down there.”


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