Shelby County, Indiana

Sunday February 27, 2022

Working Trench Rescue
12105 Block E McGregor


Tragically a 54 year old male lost his life  after falling into a ditch and becoming trapped underground.  HIS Contractors, Inc workers told firefighters that the man, who was also the project supervisor; was standing on the edge of the recently dug trench – when the ground gave way.  He fell into the 40 ft. long – 6 ft. wide hole and additional mud and debris fell on top of him.  Several of the other workers jumped into the hole to try and help get him out but the unstable soil was too treacherous and they had to exit. They called 911.  Several hours after firefighters began operations, he was located about 19 feet down.  Firefighters had difficulty removing the compacted clay soil from around the man as underground water continued to backfill the hole and further compressed the material.   The man has not been identified – pending further notification of family members.

Originally Dispatched at 3:08 PM – Workers from HIS Contractors called 911
Based on the location at the county line and the cell tower location – the call originally went to Marion County police side dispatch – they transferred it over to Shelby County Dispatch at 3:13 PM
Sugar Creek Township FD – Dispatched at 3:13 PM
IFD Trench Rescue Team Requested by Sugar Creek at 3:22 PM
12 IFD Units Dispatched
Sugar Creek confirms – 1 Adult Male trapped in ditch at 3:23 PM
Non-Viable – marked working recovery at 3:25 PM

Incident Commander – Moral Township / Shelbyville Firefighter Aaron Lathrop
Operations: Lt. Jay McClung (IFD) – Battalion Chief James Wolsiffer (Sugar Creek)
Greenfield Wastewater Utility vacuum truck was used for dirt and water removal

Agencies on scene and assisting with incident:

Sugar Creek Fire Department
Indianapolis Fire Department
Shelbyville Fire Department
Moral Township Fire Department
Greenfield Fire Department
Fountaintown Fire Department
Shelby County EMA
Shelby County Sheriff’s Department
IFD Chaplain on Scene
IFD Fire Buffs Rehab Support Unit

No firefighter injuries

The victim was located at 5:30 PM
Secured with a LSB Half Back – Full Body Harness – the 54 year old male was removed from the ditch at 7:43 PM – He was taken to the Shelby County Coroner’s office
The victim has worked for HIS Contractors, Inc for 15 years and was the supervisor on the Commerce Park project since September.  The company had 5 workers on site.

Command terminated at 8:49 PM

Credit: Rita L Reith, MPIO