From the Toronto Star


Man killed, nephew injured as basement wall collapses
Stayner family doing excavation Girl, 12, escapes unhurt from house


ROBERTA AVERY
SPECIAL TO THE STAR

STAYNER—A 36-year-old man was crushed to death and his 15-year-old nephew seriously injured yesterday when a stone foundation wall of a home collapsed on them as they worked in the basement.

Bruce Micks died while helping his brother Murray and nephew Wayne Micks excavate the dirt floor of the basement of his brother's home in Stayner, 16 kilometres southeast of Collingwood, said Clearview Township fire Chief Dave Carruthers.

Firefighters inflated airbags to shore up the collapsing two-storey wood home before they were able to enter the basement. There they found Wayne Micks trapped under a chunk of wall estimated at 150 kilograms.

Using their bare hands, four firefighters removed pieces of wall that were crushing the youth's legs before they were able to carry him to an ambulance 40 minutes later. He was taken to Collingwood General and Marine Hospital suffering from major leg injuries and numerous broken bones. He was later transferred to Toronto.

Murray Micks, who was carrying excavated dirt from the basement, was outside at the time of the collapse. A friend of Wayne's, who was in the basement when the wall came down, scrambled unhurt to safety.

Wayne's sister, Samantha, 12, who was on the main floor of the house, also escaped unhurt.

When firefighters found Bruce Micks, of the village of Dunedin, 20 kilometres south of Collingwood, pinned under a huge piece of concrete wall, he was already dead, said Carruthers.

Murray Micks and his wife Florence stood in the driveway and watched in horror, at times crying in each other's arms, as firefighters worked to recover Bruce Micks' body. They then hurried to Collingwood to be with Wayne, who was reported in serious condition last night.

Firefighters working in teams of four spent five hours shoring up the remaining three foundation walls of the home and carefully removing the pieces of wall pinning Micks' body, passing the pieces hand to hand to firefighters waiting outside.

"It's extremely dangerous in there," said Carruthers, who insisted that an ambulance be kept on standby in the driveway as the firefighters worked.

Around 3 p.m. the local coroner crawled into the basement and officially pronounced Micks dead, said Constable Tim Garland of Huronia West Ontario Provincial Police. Micks' body was removed just after 5 p.m.

The Micks' neighbour, Nell Day, described them as "a hardworking, loving family."

Murray and Florence Micks, who both work at the Collingwood Goodyear plant, have been working on the basement since the summer.

Carruthers said the basement was "less than six feet high."

After Clearview building inspector Scott McLeod put an unsafe building notice on the home last evening, neighbours and friends came forward with offers to put up the family.