Two construction workers who were buried up to their waists in a trench collapse Monday afternoon were rescued and expected to make a full recovery. That’s the good news. The bad news: the rescue efforts could cost the Michigan county in which the incident occurred up to $100,000.
According to news sources, the men were shoring up the foundation of a home near a sea wall when the collapse occurred at around 2:30 p.m. Monday. Neighbors rushed to help them, but it took the combined efforts of multiple fire departments to extricate the men from where they were trapped, 7 to 10 feet below the surface.
Because of the trench's proximity to Lake St. Clair, rescue workers had to shore up the unstable soil around the trapped men, who remained conscious and alert throughout the ordeal. Water continued to leach into the trench during the hours-long effort.
A stop-work order was issued for the construction site and Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration and federal OSHA inspectors began an investigation, which could take months to complete.
Due to the number of fire departments, specialized equipment and supplies and manpower involved, township officials say they may bill Titanium Construction, the home’s builder, for the estimated $50,000 to $100,000 that the rescue will cost - once they are billed for services from neighboring townships. The two workers were employed by a subcontractor who was handling the excavation.