Worker is pulled from 40-foot hole in confined-space rescue

A construction worker in San Gabriel is rescued after he fell while working in a 40-foot hole, injuring his leg.

A construction worker operating inside a 40-foot hole for underground utilities in San Gabriel somehow toppled to the bottom of the narrow cavity Monday morning and required a complicated, multiagency response to save him.

It was a confined-space rescue -- 40 feet down in a hole only 6 feet in diameter.


“It’s tight, but our guys are trained to do that,” said Jim Frawley, fire chief for the fire departments of San Gabriel, San Marino and South Pasadena.

San Gabriel firefighters got a call for the rescue at about 8:10 a.m. at Main and Ramona streets, where crews were preparing underground utility passages as part of a regional railway project, Frawley said.

The worker was about halfway down the hole when he fell, he said. Although he had injured his leg, the worker was alert and answering paramedics' questions.

Two paramedics were lowered into the confined space, allowing them to put a splint on the man's leg and then secure him in a basket so he could be lifted out.

By 9:30 a.m., the man was out of the hole and on his way to a hospital.

Frawley said it was not immediately clear what caused the accident. Government safety officials are expected to investigate.

Crews from Alhambra and Pasadena were among those that helped with the rescue, Frawley said.

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