Fairfax County trench collapse traps man for more than eight hours

WASHINGTON — A man has been rescued after he spent nearly nine hours stuck in a trench in Fairfax County Thursday afternoon.

The dramatic rescue happened on the 7400 block of Venice Street in the Falls Church section. Fairfax Fire and Rescue says an excavation crew was digging in the yard of a single-family home when the trench collapsed on top of a construction worker shortly before 4 p.m. Thursday.

The man was buried up to his chest about 15 feet below the surface and was finally pulled out shortly before 1 a.m. Friday.


Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Captain Robert Konczal says it was a tedious rescue because the muddy ground kept caving in when they tried to get him out.

“Because of the recent rains, and the amount of dirt that was next to the trench, it was very unstable, and it was extremely hazardous for both the victim and the [rescuers],” he said. “There was constant danger of a secondary collapse.”

Rescuers were concerned about the man’s body temperature because the ground was cold and wet, so they brought in heaters to keep the man warm.

The man, who was conscious and talking to rescuers the whole time, has been taken to the hospital. No information is available on the extent of his injuries.

Below is a map with the location of the trench collapse:

Follow @WTOP on Twitter and WTOP on Facebook.