Worker rescued after being buried at Summit County construction site
Aug 9, 2022, 9:30 AM | Updated: 9:48 am
SUMMIT PARK, Utah — Coworkers helped to rescue a man who was fully buried Monday when a large piece of earth gave way at a residential construction site, firefighters said.
Park City Fire District Battalion Chief Sean Briley said crews were dispatched to a property on Upper Evergreen at around 5:30 p.m.
“There were building forms with rebar, so a lot of workers were kind of up on a safer side cutting and forming rebar and he was below this cut bank,” Briley described during an interview with KSL TV. “I was told he had some warning, so when he tried to exit his foot got caught in the rebar and kind of snagged him up and then was buried subsequent to that entrapment.”
Briley said firefighters quickly headed to the scene with their heavy rescue gear.
“En route, dispatch advised us that he was progressively getting unburied, they were able to get his mouth out first,” Briley said. “As we kept getting closer, they said they had body parts out, he was breathing, he was alert.”
Fire crews arrived in time to help finish freeing the man, said by the Summit County Sheriff’s Office to be a 25-year-old from West Jordan.
The man was taken by ambulance to University of Utah Hospital, Briley said.
Briley said firefighters approach burial-type situations with extreme urgency and equated them to potential drownings.
“You don’t know how much the dirt is compacted, it’s like an avalanche as well,” Briley said. “He may have anywhere from six minutes to up to 15, 20 minutes, so time is of the essence.”
Briley said first-responders generally discourage people from stepping into these types of situations themselves.
“We do stress in these burials that any bystanders do not go into the hazard zone,” Briley said. “We call it the ‘hot zone,’ let us get to work, but we were talking about somebody who was completely buried. We always risk a lot to save a lot, so with a viable life we’ll take some extra chances to at least clear his airway and make sure his breathing and then we’ll take some precautions to make sure our safety is insured as well.
In this case, Briley said firefighters believed the actions of the man’s coworkers made a big difference.
“This is somebody they worked with and they went into action—digging him out—and probably saved his life by at least clearing his airway first.” Briley said.