MIDTOWN—Rescuers from the Oak Ridge Fire Department were among the dozens who responded to a trench collapse in Midtown that trapped a sewer line installer in dirt up to his mid-chest for about four hours Friday afternoon.
The worker was estimated to be about 20 years old, and he had been helping to install a new Roane County sewer line next to Moses Road south of Interstate 40 and west of Kingston when a trench estimated to be about eight to 10 feet deep collapsed at about noon Friday. The worker, who wasn’t immediately identified, is employed by Danson Construction of Sparta, Tennessee. He was rescued at about 4 p.m. Friday, taken to a helipad in Midtown, and then flown by medical helicopter to the University of Tennessee Medical Center, said Scott Stout, deputy director of the Roane County Office of Emergency Services and Homeland Security.
A physician with UT Lifestar had been in the trench with the worker. Emergency responders, who had IVs and oxygen tanks available for the trapped worker, used a suction truck and large yellow hoses that were several inches wide to vacuum out dirt from around the worker. They also constructed a wooden box around the worker to stabilize the trench walls, which were saturated from recent rain, Stout said.
He said he did not know the condition of the rescued worker, who is from Sparta.
Stout praised the work of the 50 or so emergency responders, who also included the Knoxville Volunteer Rescue Squad, which has a trench rescue team; Roane County Rescue Squad; Kingston Fire and Rescue; UT Lifestar, Roane County Office of Emergency Management; public utility workers; and others. Stout said a four-hour trench rescue is a fairly quick one.
He said there were no other workers injured or trapped in the trench collapse.