Man rescued after falling in 12-foot-deep trench


Frederick County rescue teams pulled a construction worker out of a 12-foot-deep trench yesterday morning after spending nearly two hours digging through mud and shoring up the hole.

Fire officials said the 36-year-old worker -- who was not identified -- apparently fell into the trench while installing a new septic system on the grounds of a sprawling home near the Carroll County border.

An employee of Fogle's Septic and Well Drilling who refused to give a name said the man was working for a private contractor hired by Fogle's. The Fogle's employee declined to identify the worker.

Chief Kenneth Poole of the Libertytown Volunteer Fire Department said that an emergency call was received about 8:15 a.m. and that his crews responded to the house in the 7000 block of Talbot Run Road, between Libertytown and Mount Airy. They joined a Frederick County Advanced Technical Rescue Team led by Richard Lyons.

Poole said the victim was one of two men installing what appeared to be a new septic system. He said that the cause of the accident was unclear but that it appears that the man fell while standing near the edge of the trench, which was on a steep slope.

The worker was not pinned in the trench -- which was about 12 feet deep, 20 feet long and 8 feet wide -- but fire officials said he was injured in the fall and could not climb out.

The other worker at the site gave the injured man a blanket and called 911. When the rescue teams arrived at 8:30 a.m., Poole said, heaters were used to prevent the man from getting hypothermia.

Lyons said rescue workers were also worried about loose dirt and shale collapsing around the man, who was conscious and alert during the rescue.

Fire rescue teams used four-wheel-drive vehicles to move emergency equipment up the muddy and narrow hill, and they inserted steel trench boxes in the hole to keep its walls from collapsing.

Lyons' team extricated the man about 10:30 a.m., and he was flown to Maryland Shock Trauma Center. His condition was not known.

Carroll County volunteer fire companies from Mount Airy and Winfield, as well as units from Montgomery County, also responded to the call and acted as backup rescue teams.

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