At 10:43 a.m. on Monday morning, the emergency radio crackled with the chilling alert: a man was trapped in a confined space at 32 S. Main St. in New Hope. The location is currently under construction as the old Four Seasons Mall is morphed into the new Ferry Market, an upscale “farmers” market backed by Bucks County Playhouse owners.
Lambertville Fire Department was first on scene, and were quickly joined by New Hope Eagle Volunteer Fire Company, rescue squads from both sides of the river, and Corporal Matt Zimmerman of the New Hope Police Department. All gathered around the edge of an 8-foot deep trench, where an injured construction worker was buried nearly to his shoulders, apparently from a collapsed wall of earth.
Two construction workers frantically stabbed the ground with their shovels, desperately trying to free their trapped co-worker. Mike Barlow of the Lambertville Fire Department helped lift the man to safety, and the victim was conscious throughout and able to stand briefly before being urged onto a stretcher. His injuries appeared light, although an arm was causing him some discomfort and may have been broken.
Unusually, the deep trench had no shoring to help support the walls, according to one rescue worker. The work site was shut down, and representatives from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration were expected, he said.
In the end, it was very good ending to a potentially disastrous accident, with seamless coordination on scene, and blazing response time by rescuers.