Man rescued from trench collapse in West Bloomfield

Fire chief says coworkers helped dig victim out at scene near Middlebelt, Lone Pine roads


WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mich. – A construction worker escaped with his life Tuesday after being completely buried in a trench collapse for three minutes at a construction scene in West Bloomfield.

These situations frequently have tragic outcomes, but in this case, fearless co-workers and a healthy dose of luck saved his life.

West Bloomfield Fire Chief Jay Wiseman said the collapse near Middlebelt and Lone Pine roads was a worst case scenario.

It all surrounded a nine-foot deep trench in sandy soil after several days of rain, with no apparent reinforcement of the walls. The victim was laying pipe in the pit when a wall began to collapse. Wiseman said the man ran to the other side for safety and was struck by an almost identical collapse, completely burying him.

Through an air pocket, his co-workers could hear him screaming for help. Two of them jumped into the would-be tomb. One of them was his brother.

"Adrenaline takes over. The shock factor. They don't consider their surrounding and go right to work. They were very lucky, too," Wiseman said.

The victim was nearly out by the time fire and rescue crews got there. He was able to walk, but may have sustained head and neck injuries. He's being treated at Royal Oak Beaumont Hospital.

A representative of Dan White Excavating declined to answer any questions.

Michigan Occupational Health and Safety inspectors will investigate. The company could face penalties.