Man frees himself from collapsed trench in Fairplay area

August 16, 2012|By C.J. LOVELACE |
  • Emergency personnel gather Thursday at a Fairplay residence where a man became trapped in a trench that collapsed behind the home. The man was able to free himself about an hour after rescue crews arrived.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer

FAIRPLAY, Md. — A man who became trapped in a trench that collapsed Thursday afternoon behind a Fairplay home was able to free himself about one hour after emergency crews arrived, according to a fire official.

About 40 Washington County emergency personnel responded to a home at 17802 Spielman Road about 10 minutes after the 2 p.m. dispatch for the reported trench collapse, said Jay Morgan, assistant chief of the Sharpsburg Volunteer Fire Co.

While crews worked to stabilize the ground around the trench, the man, who was trapped from the knees down about 10 feet below ground level, continued to dig himself out using a metal coffee can, Morgan said.

He was able to free himself at 3:10 p.m. and was taken by ambulance to Meritus Medical Center for evaluation, Morgan said.

It was not clear if the man had any significant injuries. Morgan said at the scene that the man was conscious and alert, and any injuries were not life-threatening.

A Maryland State Police helicopter was called, but left quickly after landing nearby.

“Initially, (the man) was saying one of his extremities was numb,” Morgan said. “But he got out and walked on his own.”

The Washington County Special Operations Unit, which handles trench rescues, arrived on scene a little before 3 p.m. to stabilize the ground and free the man, Morgan said.

The trench appeared to be part of some type of project at the home, Morgan said.

Units from Sharpsburg Fire and EMS, Williamsport Fire and EMS, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and Washington County’s rehab unit responded to the call.

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