(SCROLL DOWN for newest information)
10:52 AM: A big Seattle Fire response is headed to a “trench rescue” call in the 3000 block of 36th SW (map). More to come.
10:56 AM: From the scanner – first crews on scene say this is a person “buried up to his head” in an 8-foot deep, 3-foot wide hole. They’re working to dig him out. We won’t know until our crew arrives if it is related, but city files show a side-sewer repair permit for the address listed on the 911 log.
(WSB photo by Patrick Sand)
11:09 AM: If you’re in the area, you’ll see specialized SFD vehicles heading that way – technical rescue equipment. (The heavy-rescue vehicle, shown above, is already on scene.) We’re awaiting an update from our crew.
11:16 AM: They’ve confirmed this happened during sewer-repair work. SFD’s public-information officer is on scene and gathering information from the SFD crews, more of which are still arriving. There’s also at least one TV helicopter in the area.
11:21 AM: Just announced via radio communications – “this is now a recovery operation, not a rescue operation.”
11:52 AM: Also just announced – state Labor and Industries, which investigates workplace incidents, is on the way. Seattle Police will investigate the incident for starters, according to SFD, whose spokesperson Corey Orvold has just briefed us and other media at the scene (update: here’s the video):
They say the soil was too dense for them to get to the victim in time – there was no real way to make a path for air.
They’re still using vacuum equipment to try to clear it. 36th SW remains closed between Hanford and Stevens and likely will be for a while.
2:21 PM: Some crews remain at the scene. We’ll be checking back there within the hour. No additional investigation information so far. A few lines above, we’ve added the video of the early briefing SFD gave media at the scene.
4:25 PM: Only TV crews left at the scene. Meantime, we just talked with Elaine Fischer at Labor and Industries. She says this was the first trenching fatality in our state since 2008. And she confirms what our search of online records indicated – there was no history of safety investigations for the company doing the work, Alki Construction LLC of Burien. L&I doesn’t have any information about the person who was killed – that would come from the Medical Examiner, likely no sooner than tomorrow. No additional information from SPD, who SFD had indicated would be doing some investigation too.
ADDED WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON: The King County Medical Examiner has identified the victim as 36-year-old Harold Felton. We have a message out to L&I to find out if there’s anything new in the investigation.