Two construction contractors were injured on UNC’s campus after a fortifying beam fell on them at a repair site along South Columbia Street.
The Chapel Hill Fire Department posted on social media shortly after 10 a.m. on Tuesday that they were on the scene of a trench collapse and that a rescue operation was underway.
Chapel Hill town spokesperson Ran Northam confirmed that two workers were injured in the trench collapse and both were rescued shortly after the incident. A statement provided by UNC said that both men were conscious and talking when they were pulled out and were transported to UNC Hospitals. There is no update as to their current status.
We are grateful for the actions of the first responders who quickly and skillfully rescued two construction contractors on campus this morning. pic.twitter.com/V1RHOr0tMj
— UNC F&O (@UNCFO) July 9, 2019
South Columbia Street was closed while rescue operations were underway, but the road has since reopened.
The construction site is focusing on repairing a utility steam vault. UNC officials said the project will be suspended until an investigation into the incident is complete.
UNC thanked the fast response from UNC Police, Chapel Hill Fire Department, Orange County Emergency Services and UNC Environment, Health and Safety.
“I’m extremely proud of our personnel for their calculated safety, speed, and professionalism with which they responded to this call,” said Fire Chief Matthew Sullivan in a statement released through the Town of Chapel Hill. “Anytime someone is compromised below ground, the situation is very serious. Our firefighters utilized their recent training to respond accordingly.”
Sullivan said on WCHL’s The Aaron Keck show that it took an hour to remove both workers from the site. He credited the fire department’s recent confided spaces training, saying that it saved valuable time for the victims.