Man hurt in cave-in leaves hospital

April 29, 1994|By Ed Heard | Ed Heard,Sun Staff Writer

A Frederick County man rescued after tons of dirt buried him waist-high in a deep ditch for six hours Wednesday was released from the Maryland Shock Trauma Center yesterday, and state investigators still were reviewing the cause of the incident.

Officials from Maryland Occupational Safety and Health said they had not completed their investigation of the cave-in outside a West Friendship home, but said the construction company involved should have taken greater safety precautions.

"It's apparent that there was no protective system being utilized," said Craig Lowry, MOSH chief, adding that a slanted trench would have prevented the collapse of the ditch. "This type of area is a very serious infraction."

Gabriel Kierson, an employee of The Baywood Design Build Group Inc. in Columbia, walked out of the hospital yesterday with his mother, Susan. The man, who could not be reached at his Middletown home yesterday, was not severely injured during the six-hour ordeal that began at about noon on Wednesday.

Howard County fire and rescue officials had been concerned about circulation to his legs while he was half-buried in the dirt.

Mr. Kierson was one of five workers waterproofing the three-story home on Mount Albert Road. The group was breaking for lunch around noon, when Mr. Kierson, the only one in the 12-foot-deep ditch at the time, tried to climb out. He got stuck when at least two tons of dirt rolled down on him.

Co-workers jumped into the ditch and tried to dig him out, but retreated when they began to sink themselves.

Emergency workers from Howard, Montgomery, Baltimore and Carroll counties used special equipment to stabilize the soil that trapped Mr. Kierson in the 30-foot-long trench. They then hoisted him from the ditch in a special jacket and provided immediate medical treatment to his legs, which he complained were sore.

A state police MedEvac helicopter flew him to the downtown medical facility.

If found negligent in the incident, the company doing the construction work would face formal charges for not obeying required state safety standards. MOSH can fine a company from $50 to $70,000 depending on the seriousness of an incident, Mr. Lowry said.

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