Construction worker rescued from trench after hours underground at Warren construction site

37-year-old Howell man rescued after falling into trench

WARREN, Mich. – A construction worker was rescued by firefighters Tuesday after falling into a trench at a construction site in Warren and being stuck underground for hours.

Local 4 cameras were rolling as rescuers patiently secured the trench and carried oxygen tanks down to the construction worker, who was identified as a 37-year-old man from Howell, according to his employer at Jay's Excavating.

Firefighters pulled the man out just before 9:30 p.m. at the construction site along Van Dyke south of 14 Mile Road. He was loaded into an ambulance and taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

You can see video of firefighters pulling the man out of the trench below.

The man's co-workers said it was right before the end of his shift when he deliberately jumped into the trench to fix something. But he didn't have the proper equipment, so when he jumped down, he found himself trapped in the hole.

"It's our understanding he made the decision to go into the hole without a trench box," Warren Fire Commissioner Skip McAdams said.

The rescue effort by Warren firefighters took close to two hours. It was an intricate job because the man was trapped and buried by several pounds of dirt.

"Subsequently to him hopping into (the hole), the walls collapsed around him, partially burying him," McAdams said.

When emergency crews arrived, the situation worsened as a second wall of dirt collapsed, completely covering the man.

"The employee was about to get himself above the dirt line and continued to breath," McAdams said.

Onlookers watched in disbelief and held out hope as Warren hazmat and rescue officials dropped oxygen tanks down to the man. They also hooked him up to an IV.

Emergency crews built a safe and secure wall to prevent any further dirt from falling on the injured worker, and then, he was finally pulled above ground.

"Very weak, very disoriented, but he is alive," McAdams said.

The worker is alive, but he's not out of the clear. McAdams said when the body is covered by such force for so long, the blood can stop circulating. The next 24 hours will be key in determining whether he loses any limbs, officials said.

You can see the entire hourlong video of the rescue in the Local 4 Facebook Live post embedded below.