SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — A utility worker died after he was trapped in a collapsed trench and buried under dirt and concrete in San Francisco, the San Francisco Fire Department said. The victim was working on a sewer line when 8-10 feet of debris fell on top of him.
The fatal incident happened at a worksite in the Lower Haight neighborhood on the corner of Divisadero and Oak streets. The victim had been working below ground on a sewer project for the city’s public utilities commission, Rachel Gorden of San Francisco Public Works told KRON4.
“They were below ground in an open trench doing sewer upgrade work,” Gorden said.
Fire crews immediately launched an effort to dig down and rescue him around 10:30 a.m. with 50 rescuers on scene. The worker was trapped in the trench for two hours before his lifeless body was found, the SFFD said.
Video from SFFD showed fire crews near a hole in the ground with ropes nearby and rescuers digging dirt. Fire officials said specialized tools such as tripods, shoring equipment and a vacuum truck were utilized.
Fire Captain Jonathan Baxter said, “After being evaluated by our paramedics and our department physician … unforcedly this individual did not survive the injuries associated to this.”
According to the San Francisco PUC, the victim was a private contractor working on a city sewer line. It’s unclear why the trench suddenly collapsed. There are multiple agencies investigating this death, including Cal OSHA.
Gorden said, “We are inspecting to see what they were doing at the time of this trench collapse.” Gorden said safety is the number one priority for any construction site.
As of Thursday afternoon, the victim’s identity had not yet been released by officials.
Dozens of residents gathered near the scene were sad to hear the news. Resident Rebecca Gallegos said the victim was “just providing for his family, and went to work, and this person is not coming home today.”
Authorities are asking people to avoid the area and to take alternate routes.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.