Man rescued from collapsed trench in Pittsfield Township

45 people respond to rescue man stuck in hole for almost 3 hours

PITTSFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. - It took crews more than two hours to rescue a man trapped underneath a home in Pittsfield Township after a trench collapsed around him.

Fire officials said the man was stuck in the hole for almost three hours Wednesday. When firefighters arrived they had to work fast and very intricately.

The man was hired by the homeowners to do some work on the basement at the home on North Maple Road, officials said.

"There was something about a leak in the basement," said Dan Cain, director of the Washtenaw County Technical Rescue team.

The worker was 7 feet below the ground when suddenly the dirt collapsed on him, trapping him.

"On the initial report was somewhere on the mid-sternum line, which is pretty deep," said Cain.

Wednesday's rescue was a job for the Washtenaw County Technical Rescue team.

"That's made up of members from all the fire departments in the county," Cain said.

Rescuers had to stabilize the trench before they could pull out the man.

"Make sure it doesn't cave in on him or us, then we start sending rescuers in," Cain said.

With 45 people responding to the scene, the rescue took lots of hand-digging from firefighters, but they had help from the victim himself.

"He started digging himself out and got himself down to the waist," said Cain.

The team used a vacuum to suck up the dirt. Nearly three hours later the man was rescued from the hole. He was taken away on a stretcher and loaded into a Survival Flight helicopter. Officials said the man was in surprisingly good shape.

"Considering the outcome of how he was doing medically, I'm pretty happy with how things worked out," Cain said.

Local 4 spoke briefly with the homeowners who said they were just hope the worker is OK.

Officials removed thousands of pounds of dirt. Though the man was seemingly OK, firefighters said he could have internal damage because of the pressure of the dirt.

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