Denver Firefighters Rescue Man Trapped In Trench

Firefighters successfully rescued a man who was trapped in a trench, buried up to his waist.

The 33-year-old victim was immediately taken away by an ambulance. He was said to be alert and conscious but his official condition and identity have not been released.

The victim was part of a three-man crew working on a new home at Yale Avenue and Grant Street. They were digging a trench to connect to a sewer line. At about 3 p.m. the worker climbed in the trench to get a tape measure that he had dropped and was overwhelmed by the sandy soil. His head was 10 feet below the ground so he couldn't just be pulled out.

Rescue workers first secured the sides of the trench by placing wooden planks around the man to make sure that the dry dirt didn't shift and bury him further.

"We're going to continue to shore around the victim ... We can't even get down there until our people are protected because it can collapse," said Greg Chaplain, with Denver Fire.

After the trench was shored, rescue workers removed the dirt, one bucket at a time. They also used an air shovel, a machine that actually vacuums the dirt out of the way.

Authorities said the trench was deep and should have been properly shored but it was not.

Copyright 2006 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.