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Watch: Kan. firefighters rescue man buried in trench collapse

Overland Park firefighters faced a worker buried up to his waist 15 feet below the ground

By Nathan Pilling
The Kansas City Star

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — A man was rescued from a collapsed trench at a worksite in Overland Park Tuesday morning.

The man was alert and conscious as he was being rescued and eventually walked out of the trench, said Jason Rhodes, a spokesman for the Overland Park Fire Department. The man, described as “stable,” was taken to an area hospital for evaluation.

Scott Allen, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Labor, said in an email to The Star Tuesday afternoon that Occupational Safety and Health Administration compliance officers were responding to the incident to investigate.

First responders were called around 10:45 a.m. to the site of the collapse near the intersection of West 132nd Street and Goodman Street, where they began work to free the man, who was buried up to his waist about 15 feet below ground level, Rhodes said.

Trench collapse specialists from the Olathe Fire Department and Johnson County Consolidated Fire District No. 2 assisted by putting shoring in place to stabilize the trench, and first responders got to work on the tedious process of digging the man out of heavy, wet clay with hand shovels, Rhodes said. Eventually the man was freed and was able to walk out of the trench.

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Rhodes said the man had been down in the trench at the time of the collapse and appeared to be working with a company doing construction in the neighborhood.

The name of the company or the circumstances of the collapse were not immediately clear. Rhodes said the incident will be investigated.

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