Team trained especially for trench rescues explains the danger
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The team that tried to save the life of a Kentucky man killed while working on a retaining wall in Louisville shared their struggle to dig him out of the rubble.
On Wednesday, Clayton Bono, 25, of Taylorsville, was working at a construction site off Cardinal Hill Road.
Friends said Bono started working in construction in June and recently became a father. He was working on a retaining wall of an existing foundation of a home that burned down years ago when that wall fell on him.
Pleasant Ridge Park’s Trench Rescue Unit responded to the call and had 20 personnel on the scene.
“Most of the equipment we use is very large and heavy and it takes quite a bit of man power to put in place,” Sergeant Sean Linker, of the PRP Trench Rescue Unit said.
Linked says preforming a trench rescue is very different from tackling a fire. The process is slower and more methodical. Various elements present a lot of danger.
“When you get a lot of rain, kind of like the incident we had the other day, the ground is saturated," Captain David Mattingly said. “Trying to dig and things just collapse in.”
Mattingly said crews train throughout the year for trench rescues but they do no happen very often.
Two wooden panels, known as “strong backs” are placed along the walls of the trench. A device known as an air shore is placed between the two planks.
“It’s not forcing the debris back, it’s simply holding it in place,” Linker explained. “We don’t push loads out of the way in trench rescue we merely capture them in place.”
Linker said removing the debris that has fallen on the victim is a manual process that involves shovels and buckets. Soon into their rescue on Wednesday, they realized it was a recovery mission.
“Unfortunately, more often times than not a trench rescue is a recovery,” Linked said. “If we do have a viable patient, we have to be very careful when we remove that dirt.”
On Wednesday, it took about 90 minutes to remove Bono’s body from the entrapment.
Fire said these rescues are a reminder to be safe.
“All the soil can just collapse on you and that weight -- the body just can’t withstand that,” Mattingly said.
Bono’s friends said his family lives out of state, but they are very grateful for the work performed by PRP fire.
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