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Man trapped in Lehi trench collapse

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 29 2013 4:58 p.m. MDT

Lehi and Provo firefighters extricate a man trapped in a collapsed trench at a home in Lehi Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

LEHI — A construction worker was buried waist-deep in dirt for about 90 minutes Tuesday before rescuers were able to free him.

Seth Thomas, 41, was digging a trench about 10 feet deep, 15 feet long and 4 feet wide to replace a damaged pipe, when the weight of the wet soil piled next to the trench caused the shoring to break.

Ken Bogedahl, who owns the home near 2400 North and 910 West where the man was digging in the front yard, said his wife heard a board "snap," saw the man trapped and called 911.

Lehi Fire Battalion Chief Rick Howard said Thomas' legs were trapped around the pipe after the weight of the dirt pushed them down into it.

More than 30 rescuers from fire departments in Lehi, Orem, Pleasant Grove and Provo were called to help get Thomas out. Crews first had to shore up the trench to prevent any additional collapses before they could get in and dig him out and carry him out on a backboard, Howard said.

An IV was also started while Thomas was still in the trench to help alleviate some of the "great deal of pain" he was in, Howard said.

After Thomas was freed, he was taken to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center where he was treated for a pelvic fracture and later released.

Thomas works for Whipple Service. A spokesman said the collapse was a first for the company.

— Pat Reavy, Shara Park

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