On Monday, Feb. 26, Sterling Heights Police and Sterling Heights Fire Departments were alerted to a trench collapse with a victim reported trapped.
The incident occurred in front of 42371 Mound Road, where a contractor was attempting to perform an underground sewer line disconnect. The incident was report just after 1:30 p.m.
Upon arrival of SHFD, rescuers were confronted with a 20-foot long trench, about 4 feet wide, with depths up to 12 feet. One bystander reported that the contractor was at the bottom of that trench when the walls collapsed on him. The heavy clay type soil had covered the victim with approximately 3 feet of soil.
According to Fire Chief Chris Martin, early attempts by responding fire personnel to shore up the remaining trench walls in hopes of a possible rescue attempt soon proved futile, and the operation switched to one of “recovery mode.” The SHFD activated the Macomb County Technical Rescue Team, which brought additional equipment and personnel from the Shelby Township, St Clair Shores and Warren Fire Departments. Additional team members also responded from Clinton Township, Lenox Township, Roseville and Eastpointe. With personnel from the Sterling Heights Police Department and Sterling Heights Department of Public Works, an estimated 75 personnel worked on the recovery effort throughout the afternoon and into the evening. There were no injuries to any of the personnel who responded.
Crews work for about 3 hours stabilizing the trench walls and removing the soil to locate the victim. At approximately 5:15 p.m. the victim was removed from the trench. He was identified as 39-year-old Jason Holmes of Sterling Heights. He was pronounced dead on the scene and turned over to the Macomb County Medical Examiner. After some investigation from MIOSHA and the Sterling Heights Police Department, the trench was filled so that the scene was safe.
For more information, please contact Fire Chief Chris Martin at 586-446-2951 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.