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GRFD: One man dead, another rescued after trench and porch collapse

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- One man is dead and another had to be rescued after a concrete porch collapsed, trapping both in a trench underneath.

The Grand Rapids Fire Department said two men—who have not been identified yet by officials—were conducting  sewer work at a home on the city's northeast side near Grove Street. The call came in just before 1:00 Saturday afternoon.

"We had gas lines and water lines in our way that we didn’t want to flood the hole and didn’t want to create a hazard of natural gas we had to work around those," said Grand Rapids Battalion Fire Chief Bart Perry.

Officials said the men were digging a trench to reach the sewer line when a cement wall collapsed, trapping both in a five foot hole.

"It looks like they had a trenching operation that was related to a sewer line, I believe it was an owner-occupied type repair they were doing," Perry said.

Officials said it appears the trench collapsed because there was no footing on the brick wall that was holding up the cement porch.

"It was bricks laying on top of each other with no cement foundation," Perry told FOX 17. "It appears that wall fell on top of them and all the sand and dirt next to this wall fell on them."

The body of the man who died at the scene was retrieved from the trench by fire crews. The man has not officially been identified.

The second man was rescued and taken to Spectrum Health downtown. He is described as a Hispanic male in his mid-40s.

Perry said the second man's exact injuries haven't been determined, but he appeared to be in stable condition. He was alert and communicating with fire crews throughout the extraction, Perry told FOX 17.

Officials said the homeowner described the two victims as friends.

"[This] doesn’t happen very often but when it does happen everybody gets in and works. Really good job done by everyone today," said Lee Finlayson, Grand Rapids Fire Department's Special Operations Chief.

A viewer who reached out to FOX 17 claiming to know the deceased man said he was a husband and father of two little girls.


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