Ohio Sewer Line Trench Collapse Kills 1 Worker

April 9, 2010

Crew members dug through rain-soaked muck to rescue two workers trapped after a sewer line trench at a residential construction site in Hudson, Ohio, collapsed on the morning of April 7. One worker was pulled alive from the trench six hours after the collapse, but the second worker died.

Hudson Fire Chief Bob Carter said the 15-foot-deep trench collapsed in late morning as crews installed sewer lines in a wooded cul-de-sac at a new-home construction site. More than 60 workers used their hands, shovels and buckets to rescue the men.

Albert Joseph Bagnoli Jr. of Youngstown was alert and in good condition when he was dug out of the trench. He was taken by medical helicopter to Akron City Hospital with what appeared to be non-life-threatening injuries.

The body of James Wetzl, 56, of Canfield, was removed 7 1/2 hours after the trench collapsed. Crews carried his body to a stretcher and used a blue tarp to shield it from the view of neighbors who watched from behind police lines.

Piles of gravel, pieces of pipe, areas of installed sewer lines and three pieces of earth-moving equipment were surrounded by an orange plastic safety fence on the construction site.

Federal job-safety inspectors were among the last to leave the site in Hudson, an upscale suburb about 20 miles southeast of Cleveland.

The work was being done by a crew with Bagnoli & Sons Inc. of Youngstown. Messages left at the company’s offices were not immediately returned.

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