LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – An employee of H&K Group Inc., who was part of a crew working to install pipe in a trench on the 200 block of Evergreen Road, had his legs buried and immobilized in waist-high soil and debris when a portion of the trench wall collapsed Wednesday (April 7, 2021) at around 1:10 p.m., according to Lower Pottsgrove Fire Marshal Lew Babel.
The male worker – who was not immediately identified by name, age, or hometown – was pinned in the trench (at top) for about an hour and 10 minutes before being successfully rescued, Babel said. The extent of his injuries, if any, was not immediately available.
From a distance observers saw the victim had been supplied with intravenous fluids (above) during the ordeal. Babel said they were administered on the scene by emergency medical personnel so the victim would remain hydrated and not become overheated. The man emerged from the tightly confined space conscious, in stable condition, and talking to firefighters and others nearby, Babel added.
An ambulance positioned on Evergreen Road at the south end of the scene transported him to Pottstown Hospital, and from there he was flown by medical helicopter to a Philadelphia hospital, Babel confirmed. The fire marshal said rescuers had considered bringing a medical helicopter directly to the site, but no potential landing area was deemed suitable.
The incident remains under investigation. The wall cave-in may have been caused by vibration or work in the trench, Sanatoga Fire Company Chief Eric Linsenbigler suggested as he talked to members of the media during a 3 p.m. post-rescue briefing.
The affected portion of Evergreen Road was so filled with fire-fighting apparatus and emergency responder vehicles that other units arriving later at the scene were forced to park in the driveway and adjacent parking lot of the nearby Genesis assisted living facility. Equipment from more than a dozen fire companies, fire departments, and ambulance companies, as well as Lower Pottsgrove police and Montgomery County special operations crews, all converged to offer help.
While they worked the sky was filled with relatively low-flying, camera-equipped news helicopters. The buzz and noise of their rotors left some on the ground complaining they couldn’t hear each other with all the racket overhead.
The pipe is part of a water main that eventually will extend from near the Costco store, a short distance northeast on West Lightcap Road, south down Evergreen to serve the Sanatoga Greene mixed-use residential and commercial community under construction there, Babel said.
Photos by The Post