SCHUYLKILL TWP – A trench collapsed in a construction area at Valley Forge Sewer Authority Tuesday afternoon, injuring two outside contractors.
Sometime after 1 p.m., the earthen wall of the trench at the facility off the 300 block of Pawlings Road collapsed and trapped two men, according to authorities.
The Valley Forge Fire Company responded to the scene and helped pull the workers out of the trench. Schuylkill Township Police Chief James Fetterman said they were trapped by the dirt.
“There were two people down in the trench,” Fetterman said. “Both were sent to area hospitals.”
One man went to Phoenixville Hospital and the other went to Paoli Hospital, according to Fetterman, both by ground ambulance.
Injuries included difficulty breathing in one man to a leg injury suffered by the other. Sources said the man with the leg injury was awake, alert and moving when he was taken away. Their identities were not released Tuesday.
Valley Forge Sewer Authority Operations Manager Martin Goldberg said both of the men were from Pact Two LLC, the construction contractor handling an expansion of the water treatment facility. The trench was being dug to put “large diameter pipes” in.
“No Valley Forge Sewer Authority workers were involved,” Goldberg said.
Pact Two did not return a call as of posting. Goldberg said the expansion construction has been taking place for nine months.
Police and Schuylkill Township’s codes department inspected the site after the workers were pulled out of the trench. Caution tape and cones were set up around the hole.
“OSHA is on its way,” Fetterman said around 2:45 p.m.
The dirt wall of the trench seemed to “just give way” in the collapse, according to Fetterman. “There have been three additional collapses since we got here,” he said of the trench.
Some pieces of concrete were visible inside the trench which straddles two short buildings.
“I think the job might be shut down until OSHA completes an investigation,” Goldberg said. “There’s not going to be any activity there.”
An incident like this is out of the ordinary at the Valley Forge Sewer Authority, according to Goldberg.
“We have a pretty good safety record,” Goldberg said. “This one didn’t involve Valley Forge Sewer Authority workers. The players are the construction contractors (Pact Two), the construction manager (Buchart-Horn), and the Valley Forge Sewer Authority.”A search of OSHA’s online records turned up no inspection documents for the Valley Forge Sewer Authority since 2009.