2 workers rescued after retaining wall collapses on top of them

Blackstone Valley

WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Two men became trapped Friday afternoon after the retaining wall they were working on collapsed on top of them, according to Woonsocket Fire Chief Paul Shatraw.

Shatraw said the men were constructing the wall behind a Front Street home Friday afternoon when the soil gave way. Both men became trapped under a pile of construction equipment, cement blocks and various debris.

Other workers were able to free one of the men before crews arrived, according to Shatraw, but the other man was trapped up to his waist.

“It was chaotic,” Shatraw recalled. “Our guys found [him] in the hole trapped by soil and debris.”

Shatraw said rescuers made calculated moves to ensure they weren’t putting the man in any further danger while trying to remove the debris surrounding him.

“They did an absolutely incredible job of physically, manually, removing the debris in and around the individual while tending to him medically, keeping him calm,” Shatraw said.

Once the man was freed, Shatraw said he was transported to Rhode Island Hospital for observation.

“We’re very fortunate with the outcome,” Shatraw said, acknowledging it could have been much worse. “The victim is alive.”

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