Man rescued from trench collapse thanks first responders

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – A man who was trapped in a trench in south St. Louis County this past May had a chance to thank the first responders Tuesday.

Carl O'Hearn said he was working in a trench for the Metropolitan Sewer District when the ground began to cave in, along with slabs of concrete crashing down around him, badly damaging his leg.

O’Hearn said it happened quickly and there was not much he could do to avoid getting trapped. O’Hearn thought this might be the end because more debris could come crashing down.

“Please let this be it. Don’t let any more debris fall on me,” he said.

But it didn’t take long for rescuers from the Lemay Fire Protection District to arrive and begin the process of rescuing him. He said it was such a tight situation that it was difficult for the first responders to get the debris off of him without doing more damage to his leg.

In fact, the Lemay crews could only use hand tools to set him free.

O’Hearn was taken to the hospital, where he suffered quite a bit of damage to his leg. He’s still undergoing physical therapy but hopes to be back on the job soon.

On Tuesday, he wanted to take a moment to thank the people who put their own lives in danger.

“I just appreciate them and everything they do,” he said. “They save lives every day... car accidents, other accidents. It’s just amazing what they do.”