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Man Rescued From Beneath New City Home

Emergency responders were called to extricate a repair worker who had been trapped under a house on Germonds Road in New City for more than two hours. He was airlifted to Westchester Medical Center. UPDATED at 4:38 p.m.

A repair worker was rescued from underneath a New City home Friday after the trench he was working in collapsed, trapping him up to his chest in mud. 

The man, whose named was not released, was trapped under the house on Germonds Rd. for two hours, but was reportedly conscious after being rescued. He was placed in a neck brace and brought to Albertus Magnus High School, where he was airlifted to Westchester Medical Center. 

The Nanuet Fire Department received a call about the collapse at approximately 1:30 p.m. Friday and the victim was removed from under the home at about 3:30 p.m. Part of the difficulty in the rescue was the type of mud he was buried in. 

“The dirt that was compacted on the victim was wet, clay-type dirt, which makes it real heavy,” said Rockland Regional Technical Rescue Team Chief Donald Arterburn. “There was a lot of decorative stone and large boulders in the trench with him.”

One of those boulders was pressed against the victim’s chest when the rescue team arrived. 

“That was our first obstacle to move,” Arterburn said. “After that, it was just digging down to get to his feet. His legs were bent, so we had to uncover a good portion of them before we went in to pull him out.”

The emergency workers used a tripod to help lift the man out of the trench. Arterburn estimated the man was about six feet down into the trench. 

“Anytime you go below four and a half feet, you risk being buried like this because there is so much weight,” he said. “Figure a cubic foot of dirt weighs 150 pounds, and his feet were well below surface, so there was a lot of dirt and a lot of weight pinning him to the foundation of the house.”

Arterburn added that being down that low could lead to suffocation of being crushed. 

Nanuet Fire Commissioner Harold Straut said the agencies involved in the rescue were the Nanuet Fire Department, Rockland Regional Technical Rescue Team, Pearl River Fire Department, Nanuet Ambulance Corps, Rockland Paramedics, Clarkstown Police Department, Clarkstown Building Department, Orange & Rockland, Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) and STAT Flight. The West Nyack Fire Department handled the landing zone and Spring Valley Fire Department stood by for Nanuet in case of any emergencies. 

“It was a good operation by everybody that was involved with it, and it was successful,” Straut said. 

He added that the man was not only conscious when lifted out of the trench, but was talking to one police officer, who translated from Spanish for the other emergency workers. 

Straut said he didn’t know if there were any building violations with the home that might’ve led to the collapse, and that the Clarkstown Police Department and OSHA would conduct an investigation.

Phil Costa November 23, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Here is a link to more images of this rescue. Thanks! Phil Costa http://photosbyphilcosta.zenfolio.com/p380020509
Jenn November 24, 2012 at 12:44 AM
hi my name is jenn hopkins
Beth Abrahamson November 24, 2012 at 12:50 AM
Great job everyone - thank you for your time for whoever this person is. Maybe some day people will get that helping someone in need isn't based on the character of that person but on the character of the person offering the help.
Odd Job November 24, 2012 at 01:19 AM
Romney: 'The World Needs Ditch Diggers, Too'
Ken McQuade November 24, 2012 at 01:50 AM
Thank-you to all of Rocklands Bravest who assisted in this emergency. The Mutual aid system works for all kinds of emergencies not just fires. The next time you see a Blue light flashing towards you pull over and dont delay them.
ALEX B November 24, 2012 at 07:08 AM
Instead of seeing the good in the story like GREAT job Nanuet fire department for SAVING A HUMAN BEING the rescue you look at the negative which might not even be true & unless your an American Indian your family was once an immigrant as well & was given the chance to live in this country. I'm one of those citizens of Rockland who gladly help in paying with my taxes anyone medical bill in need but against the ones abusing the system why don't you look for resolution instead of whining about it. You might need that system one day!
mike sullivan November 24, 2012 at 01:16 PM
everyone did a great job rescuing him and i am glad he made it, but the problem here is hiring a unlicensed contractor and getting mexicans off route 59
Meg Wilson November 24, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Amazing work. Saw pictures by Phil costa. So much work involved to save this man. I am so proud of those people that helped. Many are VOLUNTEERS too! Thank you.
Phil Costa November 24, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Thanks Ms. Wilson. As a point of information, all of Rockland's Firefighters are volunteers. I've been one since 1971, and these folks do a great job, 24/7/365. They always need the support of the community, and the residents have been great to us! All Rockland's Departments need new volunteers. The training is demanding, the hours are long, and the fires are real. But so is the satisfaction of a job well done. Stop by your local fire house and ask what you can do to "Help us to help you!" Stay fire safe! Phil Costa
Gregg November 25, 2012 at 02:15 PM
do you know for a fact he is an unlicensed contractor ???
Tony T November 26, 2012 at 02:14 AM
I assume this man was an illegal day laborer and that is why the name of the company he worked for and his name was omitted form the article. I think that should be noted.
Tony T November 26, 2012 at 02:16 AM
I hope they are identified and both the contracor and homowner are fined.....that is the only way to stop the hirining of illegals.
Gregg November 26, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Now you know the name of the company TonyT & the name of the injured. It is Spanish, so does that make him illegal?
Gregg November 26, 2012 at 05:26 PM
So we know it is not an unlicensed contrator & the name of the injured. Now what?
Marie November 26, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Thanks Gregg for your insightful and intelligent comments! Mike: Do you even know for a fact that it was a Mexican (as most are from central and south america)? Maybe when a 'legal american' is willing to risk their life and do menial jobs will the 'problem' be eliminated?
Tony T November 27, 2012 at 11:24 AM
Marie, Your attitude is the problem, first you did not capatilize" American" but you did "Mexican", so I must assume in writing this response that you have so grudge against America? Second, the reason landscapers, contractors, homeowners etc use these illegal workers is becasue they (unfortunatelly) will do this kind of jobs with out the necessary safety precautions because they have no choice. I my view the use of this these illegals actually amounts to a form of slavery or indentured service. If there were no illegals to hire the contractor, homeowner, landscaper would be forced to use a legal company that is insured, licensed and has has the proper permits and equipments to do the job and has it's worker's covered by workman's comp. All of this is not done so they (contractor, homeowner, landscaper ) can make more money for the work they perform. So if you really do care about the illegal you would insist that the hireing party be criminally charged for putting this person's life in danger either criminally or civilly fined for this act. This my prevent this type of actions in the future and help stop the flow of illegals into this country.
Tony T November 27, 2012 at 11:27 AM
You are correct but they need to be legal hired by a legit company and covered by workmen's comp so the tax payer need not cover the expenses required for his rescue and medical care.
Tony T November 27, 2012 at 11:35 AM
Gregg, in events and articles such as this the contrator is usually mentioned or we at least see some where in the artilce "the owner of the company".........let's assume it was a legal company and the worker was a Spanish American and a citizen of the US there was still no mention if this person was a "illegal day laborer" not necessarily an illegal alien or if the company he worked for was licensed and permitted and and the proper equipment to do this type of work........hense " the Clarkstown Police Department and OSHA would conduct an investigation." Either way something was not done properly at this work site.
Tony T December 07, 2012 at 01:56 AM
Robin, Did the Patch ever follow up to see if there were any building violations with the home that might’ve led to the collapse,. Did the homeowner have a permit for the work? Or if the Clarkstown Police Department and OSHA have finished their investigation and what the results were?
Tony T December 29, 2012 at 11:55 AM
Robin, Did the Patch ever follow up to see if there were any building violations with the home that might’ve led to the collapse,. Did the homeowner have a permit for the work? Or if the Clarkstown Police Department and OSHA have finished their investigation and what the results were? What is the condition of the individual who was injured? Why is there never any follow up on certain stories......?
Tony T July 10, 2013 at 08:47 AM
Did the "Patch" ever follow up on this to see if violations or tickets were ever issued to the worker or the contractor? Was the homeowner ever sued by the injured worker?

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