A sewer ditch that caved in and killed an Arlington man Tuesday afternoon was not properly shored to prevent accidents, in Arlington county construction inspector said yesterday.

Deryle C. Cuddy, of the county Department of Building Inspections said the ditch, which was six or seven feet deep, required shoring or support beams to hold back dirt that had been removed. Any ditch more than five feet deep must have such shorings to be in compliance with county laws, he said.

Carl Thomas Noll, 24, who worked for Dittmar Construction Co., was alone in the ditch when a cave-in buried him. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Arlington Hospital. Cuddy said, however, that the cause of the accident will not be determined until his investigation is completed next week.

Benjamin Bianco, chief plumbing inspector for Arlington, said that the Dittmar Co. had not applied for a permit to work on the sewer at 4642 N. 20th St. Permits are required before any excavation work can be done, he said.

If the county determines that negligence was responsible for the accident, the case could be turned over to Arlington Commonwealth's Attorney's office.

Dittmar officials were not available for comment on the accident.