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    Worker Trapped for Hours in Pittsburg Trench

    At 8:15 a.m. on Tuesday, March 31, 2015, a rescue crew was called to a Butler County construction site to save a man who was trapped in a trench off Marburger Road in Forward Township, Pennsylvania. A worker was trapped up to his waist in dirt nearly 10 feet down, surrounded by trench walls that partially collapsed.

    Dozens of rescuers worked eagerly to both save the victim and prevent further damage. Steve Bicehouse, Butler County Emergency Management Coordinator, stated, “He was already trapped. You don’t want any of our rescuers to get trapped, so that’s what took most of the time. And then they actually hand-dug him out of that hole..Sky 4 video showed post-hole diggers and a backhoe were available at the scene to help dig him out of the trench. You need to take your time and be very meticulous, because you don’t want to injure a rescuer also.”

     Fifty rescue and fire crew members from 10 nearby areas were at the scene. Paramedics and nurses were in the collapsed trench with rescuers, treating the victim and talking with him. A heater was used to pump warm air into the trench while the man was trapped, and he was given at least two IV bags.

     About two and a half hours later, the victim was lifted out of the trench, where a medical helicopter took him to a trauma hospital to treat his injuries. He was in stable condition when taken from the scene. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Pennsylvania State Police are investigating the incident. The victim’s name has not been released, but the OSHA has identified the victim’s employer as Mark Mashuda Excavating of Mars, Butler County. OSHA record show that the company has a history of violations and fines. The excavation company was cited in cases in February and November of 2013 and has a list of four “serious” violations and one “repeat” violation in 2013.

     The township was not able to provide the name of the developer that owns the property or of the general contractor, of the area where the rescue happened. Forward Township has identified the area as Peachmont Farms, where a new housing plan is under construction.


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