On The Job: Dothan, Alabama

A worker installing a sewer line was trapped beneath 9 foot of earth when a “shear wall” collapse occurred.


On Sunday, May 24, 1998, the Dothan Fire Department responded to a tragic construction accident. A worker installing a sewer line was trapped beneath 9 foot of earth when a "shear wall" collapse occurred. Two men had been working on the line over the holiday to complete a project that would tie a new shopping center into the City's sewer system. This incident would require a regional response that would involve nearly 150 rescue workers from 14 different agencies to bring this situation under control. For more than 11 hours, the rescue workers performed superbly, under extremely difficult circumstances. This article will discuss the strategy and tactics as well as the incident management system components that were used at this very unusual and time consuming alarm.

ABOUT THE TRENCH

Time-Line Of Dispatch
UNIT
ALARM
TIME
Paramedic Engine 9
Initial Alarm
1145
Truck 25
Special Alarm
1147
Fire Chief
Self-Dispatched
1148
Battalion 1
Self-Dispatched
1148
Squad 1
Special Alarm
1148
Paramedic Engine 5
Special Alarm
1151
Paramedic Engine 4
Special Alarm
1151
Trench Rescue Team
Special Alarm
1153
Paramedic Engine 1
Special Alarm
1157
Truck 5
Special Alarm
1159
Rehab 1
Special Alarm
1214
Private Ambulance Company 1
Special Alarm
1219
Emergency Medical Services
Self-Dispatched
1229
Fire Prevention 1
Self-Dispatched
1301
Engine 24
Special Alarm
1309
Engine 23
Special Alarm
1309
Fire Department Chaplain
Self-Dispatched
1313
Paramedic Engine 8
Special Alarm
1324
Fire Prevention 2
Self-Dispatched
1338
Houston County Volunteers
Special Alarm
1340
Fort Rucker Fire Department
Special Alarm
1352
Light and Air Truck
Special Alarm
1447
Coroner
Special Alarm
1634
Private Ambulance Company 2
Special Alarm
1842
Private Ambulance Company 3
Special Alarm
1849
Engine 6
Special Alarm
1933
Engine 25
Special Alarm
1958
Number Of Personnel On Scene