Parkland, Florida Firefighters Perform a Trench Rescue

Firefighters from five departments worked feverishly for over three hours to rescue a construction supervisor who had become buried in mud and water up to his neck during a trench collapse.


Firefighters from five departments worked feverishly for over three hours to rescue a construction supervisor who had become buried in mud and water up to his neck during a trench collapse.

The incident occurred shortly after 3 p.m. on Friday January 30,2004 at a remote construction site in Parkland, Florida.

Deep sewer lines were being installed.

Parkland firefighters were first to arrive on scene and quickly summoned help from several neighboring agencies. Divers from Coral Springs, Sunrise and Margate Fire Departments worked with Technical Rescue Personnel from Sunrise Fire Rescue and the Broward Sheriff's Office.

Large quantities of spilled hydraulic fluid, rising water, and the inability to see the victim's trapped leg complicated the rescue. Divers and Technical Rescue Team personnel had to work blindly using pneumatic hoses and vacuum trucks to dislodge rocks and mud around the victim's leg.

A massive 12" hydraulic pump was brought in to rapidly dewater the 40 foot diameter hole. Throughout the rescue, the walls of the hole continued to slough off dirt and leak water.

Firefighters raced against time as severe thunderstorms approached.

A little over three hours into the incident the worker was free and hoisted to safety via a stokes basket rigged to a 100 foot aerial from Coral Springs. The worker suffered hypothermia and leg and pelvic fractures.