Reporting John Lauritsen
BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. (WCCO) — A construction job in Brooklyn Park turned deadly Wednesday morning when a wall of dirt caved in on a worker, killing him.
It happened just after 9 a.m. at the Public Storage on Lakeland Avenue.
“Reports indicate it was a substantial collapse. It took time to get the victim out of the trench,” said Brooklyn Park Fire Chief Ken Prillaman.
According to officials, the victim was doing water-proofing work on a building foundation at the bottom of that trench. The trench was about 8-feet deep and with almost no warning, the wall of dirt above him collapsed, burying the man up to his shoulders.
Even though the victim’s head was still above ground, Chief Prillaman said the weight of the dirt put a lot of pressure on his chest. Prillaman said every cubic foot of dirt weighs about 30 pounds and the man was buried in several feet.
“Dirt has a mind of its own and in this case it collapsed into the space where the worker was. When it collapses, it collapses with a tremendous amount of speed and force,” said Prillaman.
The worker was trapped for about 20 minutes, and Prillaman said he went into cardiac arrest. Once he was freed, CPR was administered, but unfortunately could not save the man’s life. People on scene say the victim was about 50 years old, but neither his name nor the name of the company he was working for have been released.
A permit is needed for water-proofing work, but the city’s building inspections division said they have no record of a permit being issued for that address. As the investigation continues, it is a difficult reminder of just how dangerous this type of work can be.
“It’s a very unfortunate situation. Trenches create some inherent challenges and companies that do this work understand those challenges,” said Prillaman.
The state is investigating the accident.
Police say the name of the victim is being withheld until his family has been notified.