San Francisco utility worker dies after being trapped under mound of dirt, fire officials say

A San Francisco utility worker died Thursday after becoming trapped underneath 8 to 10 feet of dirt and concrete as crews tried feverishly to rescue him. 

San Francisco Fire Department personnel responded around 10 a.m., and began digging around a collapsed trench on the 1100 block of Divisidero Street, Fire Lt. Jonathan Baxter said, FOX San Francisco reported. 

Firefighters were initially called to a building collapse but realized it was something else upon arriving at the scene, Baxter said. 

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San Francisco firefighters seen gather around a hole on a sidewalk digging out dirt to rescue a utility worker

San Francisco firefighters tried rescuing a utility worker who died after being trapped under a mound of dirt, officials said.  (SFFD)

Around 50 firefighters worked for two hours to rescue the worker, Baxter said. After 90 minutes, he said the man had died. 

“We are extremely saddened to say that this is now a fatal incident,” Baxter said. 

A human search and rescue detection canine was used to find the worker. Before the man was pronounced dead, firefighters were seen over the hole, shouting, “OK!” and “Go! Go!” the news outlet reported. 

A rescue worker with a black dog watches as firefighters try to rescue a trapped worker under a mound of dirt.

A rescue worker and dog watch as firefighters try to rescue a trapped utility worker.  (SFFD)

It was unclear how the trench collapsed, the news report said. The Fire Department shared a video on social media showing firefighters digging out dirt and debris and images of a white vacuum truck used to suck out dirt from the hole as well. 

They also shared images of a pulley to lift the trapped worker out. 

A large white vacuum truck is used to suck out dirt and debris from a hole on a San Francisco sidewalk

A vacuum truck was used to suck out dirt and debris.  (SFFD)

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The worker was working on a San Francisco Public Utilities Commission sewer upgrade project being managed by San Francisco Public Works, Public Works Communications Director Rachel Gordon told local media. 

The person who died worked for a private contracting company. Fox News has reached out to Gordon. 

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