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Man Rescued from Trench Collapse

This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.

Dallas, Georgia – On Friday, March 29th, 2024 at 11:33 AM, Paulding County 911 received a call advising their co-worker was buried in a trench collapse. 

Callers advised that he was buried over his head at the bottom of a trench, which was approximately 20 feet deep.  A co-worker entered the trench in an attempt to free him but was only able to remove some dirt around his face & chest, allowing the victim to breathe. 

Approximately 7 minutes after dispatch, Engine & Truck 11, ALS Rescue 11, arrived on the scene, confirming a patient was trapped under tons of dirt. They could talk to the conscious patient and alert him, and they immediately commenced rescue operations. 

Due to the instability of the trench and surrounding soil, crews were concerned that attempts to enter the trench might cause a secondary collapse, completely burring the victim. Paulding fire personnel were in contact with Cobb County Fire & Emergency Services' specialized Collapse Response Unit, which was already en route to the scene and together formulated a rescue plan.

Numerous other units, included in the initial dispatch, began arriving on the scene, including Squad 1, which carries skilled technical & rope rescue personnel and equipment to handle complex technical rescue incidents.  In addition, the City of Dallas Public Works large vacuum truck was dispatched to extract dirt from around the patient.

During the operation, crews provided supplemental circulating air, monitored the oxygen and carbon monoxide levels near the patient, and reassured him that the plan was working and he would be rescued.

At 3:09 PM, over 3 1/2 hours after the collapse, he was freed and raised to ground level.  Awaiting medical crews from Airlife helicopter service and Metro EMS immediately began treating the patient, and he was flown to Grady Hospital’s trauma center.  The patient was stable, alert, and talking with personnel during transport. 

Chief Joey Pelfrey said, “I’m extremely proud of the teamwork today that saved a man’s life.  Over 40 personnel from Paulding and Cobb County fire departments, Metro EMS, Paulding County Sheriff, the City of Dallas Public Works, and Airlife helicopter service worked together to ensure a positive outcome.  Thanks to everyone involved, the patient is alive and will see his friends and family on Easter.”

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STEVE MAPESCorrespondent

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