Prairie Home man survives trench collapse

Friday, January 4, 2008 | 2:05 p.m. CST; updated 8:45 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008
Members of the Boone County Fire Protection District inspect a trench that collapsed in Sturgeon on Thursday.

COLUMBIA — A Prairie Home man is home from the hospital and the Boone County Fire Protection District said he is lucky to be alive after a construction trench in Sturgeon collapsed around him Thursday.

Robert Harrison, 19, was finishing work with Friedrich Construction in a 2 1/2-foot-wide and 15-foot-deep trench when a section of the sidewall fell in, burying him from the legs down.

Fire Protection District rescue workers stabilized the trench using sidewall shoring and ground pads before digging Harrison out by hand and lifting him from the trench on a stretcher. Harrison was transferred to University Hospital for treatment of minor injuries to his legs.

Fire Protection District Chief Gale Blomenkamp said accidents of this type typically have a much worse outcome. “Generally in trench collapses, workers are bent over or are knocked down by the dirt and are often buried completely.”

Blomenkamp said if Harrison had not been able to remain standing when the dirt fell, the amount of debris would have been enough to cover him entirely.

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