Construction worker in trench collapse buried 15 feet deep for 2 hours

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A worker buried alive trapped in a trench that collapsed around him. Rescue crews spent hours working to free him.

Warren firefighters pulled that construction worker from the trench to safety at about 9:30 p.m. He is in critical condition at Royal Oak Beaumont.

Dramatic rescue video shows firefighters pull the worker, from Jay's Excavating from Howell, from underground to safety.

It first happened at 7:30 this evening at the construction site for the Hampton Inn on Van Dyke. The 37-year-old went into the trench to cover up a hole, but he went in without a trench box to keep the wet soil around him from collapsing - and it did.

At one point that worker was completely covered in a mixture of wet soil and clay.

"Obviously we are talking about crush injuries and we were able to deliver high flow (oxygen), fluids, IV fluids and pain meds," said Warren Fire Commissioner Wilbert McAdams. "His extremities were buried by the compacting dirt. We do not know the extent of his injuries.

"He was conscious and able to talk us to, although he was very weak, very disoriented, but he is alive.

Machines are pushing that dirt to cover up the trench. MiOSHA will likely investigate because the worker went into the trench without a trench box that would have prevented the soil from collapsing.

The captain of Fire Engine 3 in Warren spoke about the effort to dig out the man - which involved their bare hands.

"When the call came in, it came in as a man in a trench trapped," the captain said. "When we got here he was totally covered above his head. They were able to talk to him; they freed his head so he could get some oxygen. We put in two strong backs and we (set) a couple struts to keep the walls from falling in on him.

"And then it was just an army of guys hand-digging one after another, rotating guys in and out. Some of the guys are trained in trench tactics and the others relied on their fire training and the story was happy in the end."