The Washington Post

Construction worker is freed from trench

A construction worker in Falls Church who was trapped for about eight hours in a 12-feet-deep trench was freed early Friday morning, authorities said.

The worker was conscious and alert throughout the evening, said Capt. Robert Konczal, a Fairfax County fire department spokesman. It wasn’t immediately clear whether he had suffered any injuries.

The trench collapsed around the construction worker around 4 p.m. Thursday, when the muddy, rain-saturated ground gave way in a yard off of Venice Street, burying him up to his chest in mud and muck, Konczal said. The worker had been excavating in the yard of a home.

The worker, who was not immediately identified, talked to rescuers as they tried to shore up the trench with support equipment, Konczal said. But the 70 rescuers on the scene from Fairfax and Arlington counties faced a “muddy, slurry mix,” and whenever they removed small amounts of ground, more mud slid in.

Konczal, who called the process “a very meticulous, arduous task,” said that medics monitored the construction worker’s vital signs and blew warm air into the trench.

By 12:15 a.m., the worker was out of the trench, and on his way to a hospital.

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Clarence Williams is the night police reporter for The Washington Post and has spent the better part of 13 years standing next to crime scene tape, riding in police cars or waking officials in the middle of night to gather information about breaking news in and around Washington.


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