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MCFRS Saves Trapped Worker From Ditch in Germantown

Crews from Montgomery County Fire Rescue Services’ Technical Rescue Team were able to successfully extricate a worker who had become trapped in a ditch while installing wide-diameter pipes on a hillside along Germantown Road on Tuesday afternoon.

Fire Rescue crews were called to the work site near the Dunkin Donuts in the 12600 block of Wisteria Drive at about 4:15 pm on March 12 after a worker became submerged up to his chest while working in the 14-feet deep by 12-feet wide deep. When crews arrived, the adult male was able to breathe and communicate with rescuers, as several of his co-workers were working to remove the dirt from the area of the trapped man.

According to MCFRS Fire Chief Scott Goldstein, who was at the scene in Germantown, “The main concern here is the pressure and the encapsulation of the dirt or material around the body which causing a limited respiratory rate and lead to long-term health issues.” Officials said that EMS crews were monitoring the trapped man’s vital signs as crews worked to free him.

Goldstein said that the Technical Rescue Team worked to shore-up the soil around the trapped victim to make sure that no more dirt would fall or create more cave-ins further endangering the victim or the rescue personnel attempted to free him. Fire officials said it was unclear what caused the man to be trapped, whether it was cave-in created by the excavator or if another worker action created the cave-in.

After about an hour or working to free the unidentified worker, first responders were able to get him out of the dirt and transport him on a body-board to a waiting ambulance. EMSs evaluated him and eventually transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Germantown Pulse was “Live Streaming” from the scene of the rescue. The stream can be viewed on our FaceBook page.

The ordeal created a traffic issue in Germantown as police and fire units lined Germantown Road/Rt. 118. The southbound lanes of Germantown Road were closed for about two hours during the evening rush hour on Tuesday.


Top: MCFRS personnel carry the adult male out of the ditch where he had been trapped up to his chest on Tuesday. Photo courtesy MCFRS.

Next: Members of the MCFRS Technical Rescue Team work to assess the situation and free a worker who had become trapped while working in a ditch near Germantown Road on Tuesday afternoon.

Video: MCFRS Chief Scott Goldstein talks about the technical rescue with Germantown Pulse.

Next: MCFRS crews used wood shore-up the walls of the ditch to guard against further cave-ins that might endanger the victim or his rescuers.

Next: The worker was trapped about 15-feet below the top grade between the corrugated pipe and the wall of the ditch. MCFRS crews are working to free him. The man is trapped under the bucket of the excavator. Photo courtesy MCFRS.

Next: MCFRS and MCPD closed the southbound lanes of Germantown Road at Middlebrook Road as crews worked to free the man.

Photos by Germantown Pulse, unless otherwise noted.

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