HALIFAX — Members of the Plymouth County Technical Rescue team rescued a 51-year-old man from a trench after the land gave way around him Tuesday morning.
Paul Brown of Plymouth was approximately eight feet down in a yard on South Street in Halifax on Tuesday morning when the earth around him collapsed.
“He was conscious the whole time, “said Halifax Fire Chief Jason Viveiros.
It took rescuers two hours to free Brown.
“We were in constant communication with him and he was receiving advanced life support treatment as the team was working to free him,” Viveiros said.
Chief Viveiros along with Lt. Rob O’Brien of Hanson fire spoke to media following the intensive rescue effort. A long backboard with several pulley systems was secured to heavy ropes as the group slowly and methodically pulled Brown up.
“They used small army-type shovels to move the dirt as any heavy machinery could jeopardize the victim; dumping more dirt on him,” said O’Brien who is part of the Plymouth County Technical Rescue team.
After securing the trench for members to enter, buckets were moved by rotating firefighters who were taking turns in the hole lifting dirt out. Fire chiefs as well as their fire department members who are specially trained in technical rescues represented many towns on the South Shore.
A portable heating unit was placed with flexible tubes in the ground while the man was trapped as he began to show signs of hypothermia.
It appeared Brown suffered from possible lower extremity injuries, said Viveiros.
Brown who works for Evergreen Landscaping was in the trench working when the area collapsed around him. Another person who was not injured had operated an excavator.
They continuously talked with him letting him know that there were specialists to help get him out, the ‘best of the best’ who constantly train for these rescues, said Viveiros in an effort to keep the victim calm.
The homeowner said Brown was speaking to her and expressed that he didn’t think he could get out when she called 911 after 9 a.m. Tuesday. She said she could see him moving the dirt with his hands but he could not free himself.
The repair was involving a septic system unit and was on private property, said Viveiros.
“I just can’t say enough for the support and what they did here – the technical team and the individuals who were here today,” Viveiros said.
The incident’s positive outcome and rescue was very fortunate, he said.
Brown was flown via Med Flight to a Boston Hospital.
OSHA and several state inspectors were on scene throughout the day as part of the investigation, according to Viveiros.